As the world continues to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, the racing industry is piecing together a schedule to prepare horses for the delayed Triple Crown. One of the prep races that was postponed because of the pandemic was the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby.
Originally scheduled to be run on April 4th, the race is now scheduled to be run on Saturday, June 6 at the same distance of a mile in the eighth over the main track at Santa Anita.
How to watch and bet on the 2020 Santa Anita Derby
The Santa Anita Derby remains a major prep for the Kentucky Derby, with the top four finishers getting Kentucky Derby qualifying points on a 100-40-20-10 basis.
While it is not impossible, it is highly unlikely that the winner of the Santa Anita Derby would come back in two weeks to run the Grade 1 Belmont Stakes, now cut back to a mile and an eighth. More than likely the winner will run in the Grade 1 Haskell at Monmouth Park on July 18.
Betting on the Santa Anita Derby is available online at FanDuel Racing and PABets, with television coverage on TVG with Trackside Live from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. That broadcast will also be shown on NBCSN. The Santa Anita Derby is race 8 with a scheduled post time of 7:09 p.m. ET.
Bob Baffert horse is morning line favorite
The 4/5 morning line favorite for the Santa Anita Derby is Authentic. The Bob Baffert trainee is undefeated and comes off an impressive gate to wire victory in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 7.
Authentic has always been pointed to this race, whether it was to be run in April or now. But after an injury to Nadal that was discovered after a workout last week, there was some thought that Baffert calls an audible and points Authentic to the Belmont Stakes.
But the horse will remain in Santa Anita for this race. He will also make his first start since majority ownership interest of Authentic was purchased by Spendthrift Farm from Starlight Racing and Madaket Stables this week. Regular rider Drayden Van Dyke (pictured above) retains the mount and they will break from post 7.
Santa Anita Derby morning line odds
|1||Friar’s Road||Geovanni Franco||20-1|
|3||Shooters Shoot||Abel Cedillo||8-1|
|4||Anneau d'Or||Victor Espinoza||15-1|
|5||Azul Coast||Umberto Rispoli||15-1|
|6||Honor A.P.||Mike Smith||9-5|
|7||Authentic||Drayden Van Dyke||4-5|
Potential challengers to heavy favorite Authentic
The major challenger to Authentic should be Honor A.P. The John Shirreffs trainee ran second to Authentic in the San Felipe. Sherriffs is known as a patient trainer and is willing to use stakes races as preps to reach a goal, as he did in 2005 with Giacomo when he ran in four stakes and lost them all prior to peaking and winning the Kentucky Derby at odds of 50-1.
Mike Smith, Sherriffs go-to jockey in stakes races, has the call. Honor A.P. will break from post 6 and is the second choice on the morning line at 9-5.
People looking for an upset can look at Shooters Shoot. The Peter Eurton trainee makes his stakes debut after winning an allowance/optional claimer at Oaklawn Park in April in his first start since breaking his maiden. Eurton is another patient trainer that can get all horses ready to peak and win a goal at a price.
Shooters Shoot has shown improved early speed since returning to racing going two turns. No doubt there will be a camera pointed to Peter’s daughter Britney as well. A rising star in racing coverage that works for TVG and NBC, she is not afraid to show her emotions in a race that her father could win.
Shooters Shoot is reunited with Abel Cedillo, who as of this writing is second in the jockey standings at Santa Anita since live racing returned from a two-month break with a record of 16 for 80. They will be leaving from post 3 and are 8-1 on the morning line.
Look out for post position, race pace to drive the outcome
Handicapping the race, Authentic is the one to beat. Since stretching out to a route, Authentic has led at every call in both starts going two turns.
But if Shooters Shoot, who has the advantage of a post position inside Authentic, can break sharply and gain the lead going into the clubhouse turn, it will be interesting to see how Authentic will adjust having to stalk the pace.
If Authentic does not adjust well, it would not be surprising to see Britney jumping up and down in the stretch drive and then cry as her father wins another Grade 1 race.