Santa Anita >> Saturday, April 7
$750,000 Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby >> Preview
By Full Card Reports
(Post Time: 5:30 p.m. ET)
Generally regarded as a weak Kentucky Derby prep race in 2011, the Grade
1 Santa Anita Derby has produced a field of 10 in 2012 that could be
regarded as highly as any we will see leading up to the Run for the
Roses. The 9 furlong race has a purse of $750k.
CREATIVE CAUSE (6-5 ML) has been tabbed as the favorite. The Mike
Harrington trainee will break from the rail under Joel Rosario for
trainer Mike Harrington. He was last seen blasting off to victory in the
Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes after hitting the top of the stretch five
wide. The son of Giant’s Causeway beat the highly regarded Bodemeister
by ¾ of a length. The colt has had a bit of a problem with wandering
around in the stretch and his blinkers have been removed in an attempt
to remedy the problem.
LIASON (8-1 ML) was all the rage after his win the Grade 1 CashCall
Futurity last year. Trained by Bob Baffert, he started his sophomore
campaign in the Grade 2 Robert Lewis Stakes, a race where he clipped
heels and lost jockey Rafael Bejarano. After that, he produced a dull
effort to be fourth in the San Felipe Stakes. The connections believe
the extra ground that the Santa Anita Derby offers will help improve his
chances. Although he is by Indian Charlie, he has Victory Gallop as his
broodmare sire and that means he should have a chance at lasting in
HOLY CANDY (8-1 ML) lost his first three races, but faced top notch
stakes horses in each event. In his fourth try he surged clear late to
break his maiden by 3 ½ lengths. He sat behind slow fractions and only
really ran in the latter part of the race. Trainer John Sadler thinks he
is getting good at the right time. Alonso Quinonez gets the call to
ride as Joel Rosario decided to stay with the favored Creative Cause.
I’LL HAVE ANOTHER (5-2 ML) shocked bettors last out with a 43-1 victory
in the Robert Lewis Stakes. The win came after several months away from
the track. Bred to like longer distances, he might only be getting
started. Running well in this spot is of paramount importance, as he
doesn’t have the earnings necessary to make the Kentucky Derby at this
point. Doug O’Neill trains and Mario Gutierrez keeps the mount.
Zayat Stables has a couple of Kentucky Derby chances, but PAYNTER (12-1
ML) could be the best of the bunch. He has raced only once, sending home
three other horses in a 5 ½ furlong maiden race. The win was especially
impressive when you consider that the son of Awesome Again is bred to
appreciate route races. His works indicate he is ready to fire a big
shot and he has been the talk of the Santa Anita backside. Despite that,
asking him to go from a 5 ½ furlong maiden race to a 9 furlong Grade 1
is no small task. Bob Baffert trains and his top jockey Martin Garcia
keeps the mount.
MIDNIGHT TRANSFER (10-1 ML) made a menacing move in the stretch of the
San Felipe, but couldn’t stay with the top two while checking in third.
All in all, the son of Hard Spun ran well considering it was his first
time racing at two turns. The pedigree shows tons of stamina so we can
expect him to love the conditions of the Santa Anita Derby. Mike Smith
picks up the mount from the injured Victor Espinoza. Carla Gaines
conditions this chestnut colt.
BROTHER FRANCIS (20-1 ML) is an impressive maiden son of Kentucky Derby
runner up Lion Heart. He finished up fast to be third in the CashCall
Futurity as a juvenile and in his only race as a three-year-old he ended
up third by a head in a turf maiden going a flat mile. Garrett Gomez
gets the mount from trainer James Cassidy.
LONGVIEW DRIVE (12-1 ML), SENOR RAIN (15-1 ML) and BLUESKIESNRAINBOWS (20-1 ML) round out the field.
John J. Moore