It is time for the biggest Kentucky Derby prep race of the year in California as the Santa Anita Derby is set for Saturday.
The race is the 8th on the Santa Anita card and is set for a 4:15 p.m. post.
This years’ race appeared to be another step in the coronation of Life is Good. In a stunning announcement, Life is Good was declared off the Kentucky Derby trail after a workout on March 20 left him bothered in a hind leg.
The defection leaves a wide open 10-horse field that will go 1-1/8 mile with 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points available.
Following are the single-digit morning line horses entered.
Medina Spirit (Bob Baffert/John Velazquez/5-2) is your morning line favorite, coming off a second place finish in the San Felipe, running 8-lengths behind Life is Good. He was also second to Life is Good in the Sham. He did come back and take the Lewis; a race Life is Good did not compete.
Dream Shake (Peter Eurton/Flavian Prat/7-2) is your second choice. The horse jumped into the Derby conversation with a third-place finish in the San Felipe. The start was just his second ever and came following an easy maiden score on February 7. A sizzling work on March 20 was followed by a maintenance work on March 27 shows the horse should be ready to turn in a good effort.
Rock Your World (John Sadler/Umberto Rispoli/4-1) is third choice. He comes off a pair of wins over the turf at Santa Anita. He tries the main track for the first time but put a bullet work on March 28 over the dirt.
Roman Centurian (Simon Callaghan/Juan Hernandez/8-1) drew some attention after a hard-charging second behind Medina Spirit in the Lewis. He came back in the San Felipe with a fourth, getting caught wide turning for home. Hernandez has a habit of taking his horses wide, rather than look for a hole-shot.
The Great One (Doug O’Neill/Abel Cedillo/8-1) was a badly beaten 5th in the San Felipe. He has one win in six career starts, that a 14-length win against straight-maidens in his fifth start. The previous race saw him second in the Los Al Futurity in December.
Defunded (Baffert/Mike Smith/8-1) figures to draw some race-day interest based on the connections. He made his first start last August finishing third, then went to the shelf until March 6 when he overcame trouble early to win in a fast closing effort. This will be his first time around two turns and it certainly will be his toughest race to date.
By Dennis Miller