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Trainer O’Neill Comes Up Short in Bid for a Repeat Title

Louisville, Ky. — Trainer Doug O’Neill came up short in his bid to defend his Kentucky Derby title.

O’Neill, who won in 2012 with I’ll Have Another, ended up with Goldencents finishing 17th in a 19-horse field yesterday.

The run by Goldencents also ended Kevin Krigger’s hope of becoming the first African-American jockey to win the race in more than a century.

Krigger said Goldencents didn’t have the kick to keep up with a quick field on a sloppy track.

“It just wasn’t our race,” Krigger said.

Krigger finished one spot behind countryman Victor Lebron aboard Frac Daddy. They were the first two jockeys from the U.S. Virgin Islands to ride in the Derby.

Louisville men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino, a part owner of Goldencents, appeared confident of keeping a winning streak alive when he stood in the paddock before the race.

But his hopes for another big win ended a month after the Cardinals won the NCAA championship.

Lukas And Stevens: Hall of Fame Jockey Gary Stevens came out of retirement this year and rode 30-1 longshot Oxbow to a sixth-place finish.

Stevens is a three-time Derby winner. The 50-year-old jockey is four months into a comeback after being retired for seven years.

“I’ve got a smile on my face I can’t wipe off. It was fun. It was fun, because he ran his race,” Stevens said. “He got a chance today, and he fired a big bullet, and that’s when it’s fun, when you get a good trip in this race and the horse is giving his all. And he did.”

Trainer D. Wayne Lukas’ Will Take Charge had an eighth-place finish in the Derby. Lukas has won the Derby four times. If Lukas had come out victorious, he would have become the oldest trainer to saddle a winner.

Mylute’s Run: Jockey Rosie Napravnik was trying to become the first female jockey to win the Kentucky Derby, but ended up fifth aboard Mylute.

However, Napravnik wasn’t disappointed. Instead, she saw a solid race by her horse.

“He really did everything very well. We were right with Orb the entire way,” Napravnik said. “We followed him around into the final turn. I was really hoping to be third.”

Napravnik said Mylute has a solid future.

“He’s just a very talented horse. He’s going to improve off of this,” Napravnik said.

Pletcher’s Day: Despite being one of the biggest names in horse racing, Todd Pletcher has struggled at the Derby.

Pletcher is 1 for 36 with mounts in the Run to the Roses, with Revolutionary coming in third for his best finish yesterdyay.

Even though he saddled up a record-tying five horses, the rest of Pletcher’s group finished between ninth and 13th place.

Jockey Calvin Borel rode Revolutionary and came from nearly last in the field by riding along the rail to capture the third spot in the closing stretch.

“I still thought I’d get through,” Borel said.

Rainy Day: After a day of steady rain, the showers stopped just before the call to the post. The reprieve wasn’t enough to help the track at Churchill Downs.

The course was graded as sloppy. Only eight of the 19 Derby runners had run on a dirt track rated worse than “fast.”

The National Weather Service in Louisville reported 0.20 inches of rain as of race time.