Review of Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita on April 6

The Santa Anita Derby awards qualifying points for the 2019 Kentucky Derby to the top four finishers on a 100-40-20-10 scale. 

Race 8. Santa Anita Derby. For three-year-old at 1 1/8 miles on dirt.

Purse $ 1,000.000.


PP Horse Jockey Trainer M/L
1 Roadster Mike Smith Bob Baffert 5/2
2 More Ice Geovanni Franco Jerry Hollendorfer 30/1
3 Nolo Contesto Joseph Talamo John Sadler 6/1
4 Synthesis Rafael Bejarano George Papaprodromou 30/1
5 Instagrand Flavien Prat Jerry Hollendorfer 3/1
6 Game Winner Joel Rosario Bob Baffert 4/5

Roadster recent won an race allowance on March 1, a two-turn debut victory at Santa Anita over a rival here in Nolo Contesto. In his Del Mar Futurity (G1) defeat, Roadster ran third by two lengths with a breathing issue serious enough to require throat surgery and time off. He needs to finish in top two to receive enough points to secure a Derby spot. He has shown the ability in the past to compete against this level of competition. He should be forwardly placed and be on the lead turning for home. He should finish in the top two.

More Ice this colt cannot compete at this level. He was third last in his last race the El Camino Real Derby. He has two wins going a mile on the turf. He did debut sprinting on the main track and moves back to dirt here. He should receive a nice afternoon workout check. He will not be a factor at the wire. He has 2 Derby points.

Nolo Contesto race record for three starts is 1-1-0 with earnings of  $45,460. He finish second recently in an allowance race at Santa Anita going one mile on the dirt. Two races back, he broke his going a mile at Santa Anita. He will need to run his best race to have a chance of finishing in the top three.

Synthesis race record for 9 starts is 1-1-4 with earnings of $117,400. He will be running for new owners and trainer in the Santa Anita Derby.  He doesn’t belong in this field. His best race was when he broke his maiden at Keenland on October 20. In his most recent race the San Vicente on February he broke third and finished  fifth, in a 6 horse field, and showed little run. He needs to run against lower level horses to be competitive. He will not be a factor at the wire.  

Instagrand needs to prove that he can run a distance. He is a graded stakes-winning sprinter making his second start off a layoff of more than six months. In the Gotham (GIII), he took part in that three-way duel for the lead late that enable   Haikal swept by the trio. He needs to prove that he can / has regain his last year’s ability and win going a distance. He will be forwardly placed but needs to prove he can rate enough to be a threat at the wire. He has a chance to finish in top three. He has 10 Derby points.

Game Winner was slow leaving the starting gate in the Rebel Stakes, but not enough of an excuse for losing. He finished a game second in the Rebel.  This time he stays at home which should increase his chances of winning. He should be able to improve over his last race and that should be good enough to finish in top two. He has 45 Derby points.

Our Top Three Picks:

  • Game Winner
  • Roadster
  • Instagrand

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