The Santa Anita Derby has long been one of the top Kentucky Derby prep races, but with all the issues and problems at the Southern California track, one of the elite 3-year-old races of the calendar has been relegated to a six-horse field Saturday.
The race is 8th on the Santa Anita card and is scheduled for a 4:14 p.m. post time.
Even though the field has been decimated to only six runners, the eyes of the horse racing world will be on the race to see one of the top Kentucky Derby favorites running.
Let’s look at the top four horses.
Game Winner (9/5, Bob Baffert trainer, Joel Rosario jockey): He’s was the 2-year-old champ and didn’t run a bad race finishing second in the Rebel in mid-March at Oaklawn Park. It was his first start since early November and despite being on the shelf that long, he came out and ran a big race. Still my favorite for the first Saturday in May.
Roadster (5/2, Baffert, Mike Smith): This is your wise-guy horse, and many are jumping on the bandwagon despite his two wins coming in a maiden and an optional claimer. But after Justify came out of no where to win the Triple Crown for Baffert, many are saying this is the big horse. I’m not buying it. He may turn out to be a monster, but he’s got some proving to do to me. Back in September he was beaten by over two lengths by Game Winner.
Instagrand (3/1, Jerry Hollendorfer, Flavian Prat): Shipped across the country for his first start in six months and still managed to run a solid third in the Gotham. He has every reason to step forward here and if someone is going to push Game Winner, this is your horse.
Nolo Contesto (6/1, John Sadler, Joe Talamo): Second to Roadster in an optional claimer in his last start. He is getting listed at 6/1 because he is better than the other two runners in the field, but not as good as the top three. I really don’t have a lot to say.
By Dennis Miller