O’NEILL ENTERS FOUR WHILE BAFFERT HAS THREE IN PREMIER SHOWDOWN; TOTAL OF 170 KENTUCKY DERBY QUALIFYING POINTS ARE AT STAKE
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 5, 2017)–Top prospects Iliad, Gormley, Reach the World and American Anthem all figure prominently among a field of 13 sophomores in Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby, to be contested for the 80th time at a mile and one eighth.
With four horses entered, trainer Doug O’Neill will be in search of his third Santa Anita Derby win, while Bob Baffert, a winner of a record seven derbies at The Great Race Place, will saddle three horses. John Shirreffs, who the 2007 Santa Anita Derby with Tiago, is well represented by graded stakes winners Gormley and Royal Mo.
The West Coast’s premier Kentucky Derby prep, the Santa Anita Derby offers a total of 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with 100 points to the winner, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 to the fourth place finisher.
ILLIAD: An impressive 3 ½ length winner of the Grade II, seven furlong San Vicente Stakes two starts back on Feb. 12, he was a solid second to top Derby prospect Mastery in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes going a mile and a sixteenth here on March 11. With Mastery off the Derby trail due to injury, Iliad’s connections are hoping he can step to the front of his class on Saturday. Owned by Kaleem Shah, this Kentucky-bred ridgling by Ghostzapper retains the services of leading rider Flavien Prat. With two wins from four starts, he has earnings of $227,345.
GORMLEY: Highly accomplished, he was a galloping winner of the Grade I FrontRunner Stakes in his second career start on Oct. 1 and he showed a lot of gameness in taking the Grade III Sham Stakes here on Jan. 7, which followed a disappointing run in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 5. A well beaten fourth in the Grade II San Felipe by the recently sidelined Mastery, he’ll hope to rebound in the Derby under regular rider Victor Espinoza. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. Jerry Moss, this Kentucky-bred colt by Malibu Moon has three wins from five starts and has earnings of $320,000.
REACH THE WORLD: With a record seven Santa Anita Derby wins to his credit, Bob Baffert will send out three horses in this renewal, headed by Reach the World, who tries stakes company for the first time and most importantly, retains the services of Mike Smith, who no-doubt had several options, including American Anthem. A Kentucky-bred colt by Tapit, he finished second in a first condition allowance at 1 1/16 miles here on March 9, but had the look of a colt with tremendous upside. Owned by his breeder, Don Alberto Stable, Reach the World broke his maiden by 3 ¼ lengths in gate to wire fashion going a mile and a sixteenth two starts back on Feb. 4 and will be making his fourth career start in the Derby.
AMERICAN ANTHEM: Tenth, beaten 13 ½ lengths in the Grade II Rebel at Oaklawn Park March 18, Baffert stated that he broke “flat footed and lost a shoe” in the race. Second, beaten a head by Gormley in the Grade III Sham going a flat mile two starts back on Jan. 7, he’ll be ridden for the first time in the Derby by Martin Garcia, who can be expected to aggressively send this speedy son of Bodemeister. Owned by WinStar Farm, LLC and China Horse Club, American Anthem will hope to bounce back with a much improved effort in his fourth career start.
THE $1 MILLION SANTA ANITA DERBY IN POST POSITION ORDER WITH JOCKEYS, WEIGHTS & MORNING LINE
Race 8 of 11 Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT
- Term of Art–Tyler Baze–124 12-1
- Reach the World–Mike Smith–124 5-1
- Battle of Midway–Corey Nakatani–124 5-1
- Comma Sister–Israel Ocampo–124 50-1
- So Conflated–Mario Gutierrez–124 15-1
- American Anthem–Martin Garcia–124 5-1
- Kimbear–Joe Talamo–124 12-1
- Gormley–Victor Espinza–124 9-2
- Iliad–Flavien Prat–124 7-2
- Milton Freewater–Tiago Pereira–124 30-1
- Irish Freedom–Rafael Bejarano–124 20-1
- Midnight Pleasure–Jamie Theriot – 124 30-1
- Royal Mo–Gary Stevens–124 10-1
Special early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon. Admission gates open at 10 a.m. For scratches, changes and complete morning line information, please visit santaanita.com.