With a 7-2 morning line favorite in Iliad, it’s no secret that Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million

Santa Anita Derby is a wide open betting race.

Private clocker Gary Young concurs, singling out two of the three second choices at 5-1 Reach the World and Battle of Midway as major contenders in the 1 1/8-mile race that attracted 13 entrants seeking a share of 170 qualifying points for the May 6 Kentucky Derby, 100 to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to the third horse and 10 to the fourth.

“Both Reach the World and Battle of Midway definitely are moving forward,” Young said. “American Anthem’s kind of a tough read. I know his race in the Rebel (10th by 13 ½ lengths on March 18) wasn’t good. It was an ordinary effort, but he might bounce back.

“Both he and Gormley are coming off really ordinary races (Gormley was fourth by nearly 10 lengths behind Mastery in the March 11 San Felipe). I know Gormley wound up being the meat in the sandwich, but he backed out of there rather quick.

“Iliad is very talented. He was obviously chasing what was going to be the (Kentucky) Derby winner in Mastery. Am I convinced Iliad wants to go a mile and an eighth? Not really.

“Irish Freedom started as rabbit in front of West Coast in a recent work and he opened up on him, so I think Bob (Baffert) is taking a shot putting him in the race.

“They would be the contenders, but based on the morning line, I think Reach the World and Battle of Midway at 5-1 could step up and run well in the race.”

NBCSN will air the Santa Anita Derby in a live telecast that includes coverage of the Wood Memorial and the Blue Grass Stakes, starting at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

Approximate post time for the Santa Anita Derby is 4:12 p.m.

The field for the 80th edition of the Santa Anita Derby, the eighth of 11 races, with a first post time of 12 noon and admission gates opening at 10 a.m.: Term of Art, Tyler Baze, 12-1; Reach the World, Mike Smith, 5-1; Battle of Midway, Corey Nakatani, 5-1; Comma Sister, Israel Ocampo, 50-1; So Conflated, Mario Gutierrez, 15-1; American Anthem, Martin Garcia, 5-1; Kimbear, Joe Talamo, 12-1; Gormley, Victor Espinoza, 9-2; Iliad, Flavien Prat, 7-2; Milton Freewater, Tiago Pereira, 15-1; Irish Freedom, Martin Garcia, 20-1; Midnight Pleasure, Jamie Theriot, 30-1; and Royal Mo, Gary Stevens, 10-1.



It’s far too early and perhaps unlikely that Paradise Woods will develop into another Beholder, but Richard Mandella thinks enough of the promising daughter of Union Rags to enter her in Saturday’s Grade I, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks at a mile and a sixteenth after a maiden allowance victory.

Paradise Woods ran second as the 6-5 favorite in her debut on Jan. 26, but came back to win by 4 1 /4 lengths in a 5 ½ furlong sprint on March 11.

“It’s a step up,” Mandella said, “but I think she’s a really good filly. I’m excited to see what happens.”

Four-time champion Beholder gave Mandella his second victory in the Santa Anita Oaks in 2013. His first came in 1992 with Golden Treat.

The Oaks, which goes as race six: Mopotism, Mario Gutierrez, 6-1; It Tiz Well, Corey Nakatani, 5-2; Paradise Woods, Flavien Prat, 6-1; Abel Tasman, Mike Smith, 6-5; Bernina Star, Santiago Gonzalez, 12-1; Majestic Quality, Kent Desormeaux, 10-1; and Princess Karen, Gary Stevens, 8-1.

The Oaks offers 170 qualifying points to the Kentucky Oaks on May 5, 100 to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to the third horse and 10 to the fourth.



Those wishing to spend the morning at Santa Anita’s Clockers’ Corner on Santa Anita Derby Day Saturday are advised that Baldwin Ave. will be closed to vehicular traffic between the 210 Freeway and Huntington Drive from 7:45 a.m. until 9:30 a.m. in order to accommodate foot traffic related to the Santa Anita’s annual Derby Day 5k Run and Walk.

Accordingly, Santa Anita’s Gate 8, which adjoins the Westfield Shopping Mall on Baldwin Ave., and Gate 7, at the track’s northwest end, will also be closed to vehicles during the same time frame.

Those wishing to visit Clockers’ Corner Derby Day morning will be able to enter the track on Santa Anita’s northeast perimeter, via Gate 5, or on the track’s southern perimeter, via Gate 3 at Holly Ave. Gates 3 & 5 will be open for easy access to Clockers’ Corner beginning at 5 a.m. and will remain open throughout the day. Santa Anita’s main track will be closed for training at 7:30 a.m.

Gate 3 is located at the intersection of Holly Ave. and Huntington Drive.  Gate 5 is located at the confluence of Colorado Place and Huntington Drive.

For additional information on the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby and the Derby Day 5k Run and Walk, fans are encouraged to visit, or call (626) 574-RACE.



The Sport of Kings is not without its foibles, but its sense of beauty and grandeur can override them, capturing both the faith and fancy of even the most mundane man.

Such is the case of Cody Polansky, a workaday guy who makes his bones operating Polansky Plumbing out of West Los Angeles.

Cody got hooked on racing as a little boy, when his mom and dad took him to the races.

“I was five years old and playing in the fountain in my underwear,” Polansky remembered.

Now 47, he got the thrill of a lifetime when a horse of which he owns a share, Munny Spunt, won the eighth race at Santa Anita on March 23. It was Polansky’s first win as an owner, a span of just under two years.

It was just a $30,000 claiming race for maidens, but it might as well have been the Kentucky Derby for Polansky. Munny Spunt, a three-year-old Hard Spun filly trained by Jeff Mullins and ridden by Jamie Theriot, won the 6 ½ furlong race on dirt by nearly three lengths as the 9-5 favorite.

“My wife, Stephanie and our two-year-old daughter, Sophie, were with me when the horse won,” Polansky said. “Obviously, we were thrilled.

“I’m just an average guy in a rich man’s game. I always dreamed of owning a horse and winning a race.”

Munny Spunt’s win was worth only $12,600, but Polansky kept things in perspective.

“It sure beats putting plungers into toilets all day,” he said.


FINISH LINES: Bob Baffert, who reached the catcher on a line but wide throwing out the ceremonial first pitch at last night’s Padres-Dodgers game, says Horse of the World Arrogate “is putting on his weight and just chillin’ right now” at his Santa Anita barn . . .There is a $133,546 Pick Six carryover today and a $590,443 single ticket Pick Six Jackpot carryover . . .Trainer Ian Kruljac has champion Finest City pointed to either the Grade I Gamely Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on grass May 27 or the Grade I Beholder Mile on dirt June 3 . . . What a View, winner of last year’s Grade I Kilroe Mile, worked five furlongs on Santa Anita’s dirt training track Thursday in 1:01.60 under trainer Kenny Black. “He went great,” said Black, who plans to ship the California-bred son of Vronsky Tuesday for the Grade I Maker’s 46 Mile at Keeneland next Friday, April 14 . . . Masochistic, who worked five furlongs Wednesday in 1:00.60, is ticketed for the Grade II Churchill Downs at seven furlongs on May 6, trainer Ron Ellis said . . . Tom Quigley has Richard Saber of Gaming Today and TVG host Peter Lurie as his handicapping seminar guests, 10:50 a.m. Saturday and 11:20 a.m. Sunday, respectively, in the East Paddock Gardens . . . The racing world mourns the passing today at the age of 90 Don Rickles, an occasional visitor at The Great Race Place along with top-rated local dee jay, Dick Whittinghill. The King of Insults had a graded stakes winner named for him. By Icecapade, he was foaled on Feb. 27, 1981 and was trained by John Parisella, who sent him out to win $182,186 from an overall mark of 18-4-6-1.