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Pitino horse wins Santa Anita Derby

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Associated Press,
Sun Apr 7, 3:06 AM UTC

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) - Goldencents won the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby over even-money favorite Flashback by 11/4 lengths on Saturday, giving co-owner and Louisville basketball coach Rick Pitino a Kentucky Derby contender.

The Louisville team rallied to beat Wichita State 72-68 in the national semifinals at the Final Four in Atlanta to complete Pitino's day.

Goldencents chased pacesetter Super Ninety Nine most of the way around before swinging to the outside to make his move on the turn for home. He had enough left when the gray Flashback came to him in the stretch.

The outcome was quite different from the San Felipe on March 9, when Goldencents and Flashback chased a suicidal pace. Hear the Ghost won that race by a half-length, but he was scratched earlier in the week with a knee injury. Flashback finished second and Goldencents was fourth that day.

This time, Flashback was again the runner-up. He returned $3 and $2.20.

Super Ninety Nine was another 81/2 lengths back in third and paid $3.40 to show. Bob Baffert trains both horses. He also saddled fifth-place Power Broker in the eight-horse field and was denied a record seventh win in the West's leading prep for the Kentucky Derby.

"We're going to see how he comes out of it," Baffert said of Flashback. "He was still running at the end. He's still a young horse and we'll wait for the dust to settle. He had every chance to win today and couldn't get to that horse."

Trainer Doug O'Neill won last year with I'll Have Another, who went on to victories in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness.

The winner's circle was crowded with friends of O'Neill, who was suspended after last year's Triple Crown races as the result of a positive drug test for one of his horses in 2010.

I'll Have Another was suddenly retired with a tendon injury the day before the Belmont Stakes, which prevented him from trying to become racing's first Triple Crown winner in 34 years.

Saturday's victory was the biggest of Krigger's career and his first in a Grade 1 race. The 29-year-old jockey from the U.S. Virgin Islands pumped both arms in celebration.

Tiz a Minister was fourth, followed by Power Broker, Storm Fighter, Summer Exclusive and Dirty Swagg in front of 33,005.

Pitino owns 5 percent of Goldencents under his stable name of RAP Racing. The majority owners are Glenn Sorgenstin and Josh Kaplan, who race as W.C. Racing; and David Kenney.

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