Santa Anita Derby Showcases Two Kentucky Derby Contenders
The showdown at Santa Anita is set for Saturday, as the two heavy favorites Bolt d’Oro (6-5) and Justify (4-5) headline a field of seven in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (G1). Bolt d’ Oro has already secured his spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate, as he’s accumulated 64 points in the Kentucky Derby points standings, and he’s also been well-supported in all three future pools (KDFW). Justify makes his highly-anticipated stakes debut for four-time Kentucky Derby winner Bob Baffert following a pair of sharp wins.
The Santa Anita Derby awards 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 for third and 10 for fourth. The winner’s share is $600,000. Second is worth $200,000, third $120,000 and fourth $50,000.
Justify, undefeated and unchallenged in two victories by a combined margin of 16 lengths, will need a top-2 finish in the Santa Anita Derby to qualify for the Kentucky Derby. Justify had been expected to run out of town, with McKinzie facing Bolt d’Oro in the Santa Anita Derby, before McKinzie suffered a hind leg issue that will keep him out of both the Santa Anita Derby and the Kentucky Derby with Baffert expected to run him this summer.
Bolt d’ Oro is the 5-1 favorite in the Future Wager on Pool 4 of the Kentucky Derby. Justify, despite not yet running in any Derby prep race, is the co-second choice at 6-1 with recent Florida Derby winner Audible. Wagering on Pool 4, which is available at TwinSpires.com, the official betting partner of the Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup World Championships, begins at noon (ET) on Friday and closes at 6 p.m. on Sunday. No scratches or refunds are permitted.
Known as ‘Big Red’, Justify is a $500,000 gigantic son of Scat Daddy. Justify is being heralded in many quarters as being “any kind,” despite beating only four horses in each of his victories. Unraced as a 2-year-old, he appears to be special and will have to show it racing for the third time in seven weeks.
“We call him Big Red at the barn,” Baffert said. “We’re always looking for the big red sonofagun, but he’s got to pass this test before we start calling him anything special.”
Bettors think Justify is quite special, as he’s already a big favorite for the Kentucky Derby despite not having raced in any stakes.
Instilled Regard has 19 points and a 3rd place finish may get him into the Kentucky Derby for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer. The dominant Lecomte Stakes winner finished 4th as the favorite in the Risen Star, but back and forth travel from California to Louisiana may not have been best. He broke his maiden at Santa Anita last October and should run well Saturday. A fast pace up front could allow long shot Pepe Tono a chance to hit the board, but he’ll likely be well back of Justify for the second straight race.
This is not a good betting race if you’re looking for a return, but the Santa Anita Derby is one to watch with two of the expected Kentucky Derby favorites ready to Bolt and Justify their odds.
- Instilled Regard 5-1 Rosario
- Orbit Rain 50-1 Blanc
- Bolt d’ Oro 6-5 Castellano
- Jimmy Chilla 30-1 Gutierrez
- Pepe Tono 20-1 Espinoza
- Justify 4-5 Smith
- Core Beliefs 20-1 Baze
Estimated post time for the 1 1/8 mile Santa Anita Derby is 4:12 p.m. Pacific Time on Saturday, April 7. The race will be televised on NBC 2 Sports.