The GI Santa Anita Derby

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Saturday April 5  – Santa Anita

Get Santa Anita PPs for Saturday

Race Eight
Scheduled post time 3:38pm PT

This year’s edition of the Santa Anita Derby will answer some early questions about some precocious three-year-olds. Unfortunately, Shared Belief, last year’s scintillating two-year-old colt Eclipse Award winner has been sidelined, and without him present, the race definitely loses some of its sizzle.

In his stead comes local favorite and California-bred speedster California Chrome to claim the mantle of favorite. Does he deserve it? There are a few points for and a few points against this horse as he aims for his fourth consecutive victory. In his favor, most simply, is his powerful speed and his ability, so far, to carry it. Will the 1 1/8 miles be too much of a challenge? The fact is that until his last start, he was facing Cal-bred competition primarily. But his last race, in the San Felipe, was very legit, as he dueled with open stakes company for a half-mile in solid fractions before drawing away late.

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Today, there is a very serious possibility that he will receive early pressure from Dublin Up, who has excellent speed. The extra half-furlong will test him to the limit. So he really should be 2-1 or higher to be value here.

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Candy Boy looks like the main challenge. After an excellent second-place finish after making a middle move against Shared Belief two starts ago, he came back with a solid win against Midnight Hawk–who came back to finish second to California Chrome. He has enough speed to be close to the pace, but not so much as to put him in danger of getting into a duel. He makes a lot of sense in here, and one hopes he’ll be a tick or two higher than CC on the odds board.

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Hoppertunity was game in victory in Oaklawn’s Rebel Stakes, and the distance doesn’t look like a problem. Is he good enough? That race earned a good TFUS race rating of 105, but a look at the chart indicates that no one in the field really had earned very good figures before that race. It may be that the group wasn’t all that strong. A good horse to use on the ticket, but may be a bit of low win-percentage type here.

saderby-chart

Big Tire, Rprettyboyfloyd, and Dublin Up finished noses apart in a very solid maiden race (TFUS race rating 101) and are not desperately outclassed in this G1 event, which is only a couple notches better than a good MSW field.

This year’s edition of the SA Derby looks to be a race to think of in terms of probabilities, rather than one on which to take a strong stance on one horse. Midnight Hawk’s similar efforts behind California Chrome and Candy Boy show that those two are not all that different in ability. Based on my expectation of Candy Boy’s slightly higher price, I’ll make him the choice here, with Hoppertunity as the horse to add value.

Plays:

Candy Boy to win.

Small exacta box of Candy Boy and Hoppertunity.

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2 Responses to The GI Santa Anita Derby

  1. Priscilla T says:

    Told you so… 😉

    Like

  2. Priscilla T says:

    California Chrome has yet to be pressed for better…and not only have his pace numbers increased, but none has stayed with him or caught him yet! Based on his latest workout, he is in PEAK FORM! I anticipate another front end galloping romp, calling every other horse, to catch him if you can…his color, his size and his running style, reminds me of another BIG RED with White blaze and stockings…SECRETARIAT! It would also behoove everyone to read his pedigree profile, especially his Female side…he comes from some of the GREATEST FEMALE LINES, IN RACING AND BROODMARE PRODUCING HISTORY! And he is BRED TO RUN LONG DISTANCES, TOP AND BOTTOM! Here is a TRUE CHAMPION! Makes it look easy, and just flips his ears!

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