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2020 Santa Anita Derby Day

Date: 06/06/2020

The major California prep race for the Triple Crown is the $400,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles over the Santa Anita main track worth 100 points to the winner as part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. California racing is being conducted behind closed doors, with no spectators and very limited media allowed to attend, but conditions were excellent otherwise, with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70's. Authentic, undefeated winner of the Sham (G3) and San Felipe (G3) was sent off as the 1-2 favorite in the field of 7 over 2-1 Honor A. P., 2nd in the San Felipe, and 12-1 Rushie, an allowance winner last out.

horse racing
Honor AP winning the Santa Anita Derby

Jockey Abel Cedillo sent 20-1 Shooters Shoot to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.07, 46.88, and 1:10.97 while pressed by Authentic and stalked by 16-1 Anneau d'Or. Entering the lane, Honor A. P., 5th early under Mike Smith, came out 4 wide for room and took over the lead through 1 mile in 1:36.10. Drifting in late, Honor A. P. drew off to win by 2 3/4 lengths over Authentic in 1:48.97. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Rushie third.

Winning trainer John Shirreffs said, "It's up to him whether we run him again before the big dance. We have to see how the horse comes out and how he feels, but you'd always prefer to run. Running is probably the best option rather than training up to it, but we'll wait and see how it all happens." Jockey Mike Smith added, "It seems the further you go with him the better, he's just got that big long, beautiful, powerful stride. He gives every indication that he can go 1 1/4, just the way he galloped out today. I mean I had to pull him up. He just keeps going with that big stride, it's almost as if horses have to take two (strides) to his one."



horse racing
Swiss Skydiver winning the Santa Anita Oaks
The $200,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G2) featured a field of just 4 three-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles looking to score Kentucky Oaks Championship Series points. Gulfstream Oaks (G2) and Fantasy (G3) Swiss Skydiver was the 3-5 favorite over 2-1 Speech, winner of the Evening Jewel, 4-1 allowance winner Merneith, and 13-1 maiden winner Regal Beauty. Jockey Mike Smith put Swiss Skydiver in front through fractions of 22.92, 46.55, and 1:10.82 pressed by Merneith. Turning for home Swiss Skydiver opened up on the field, finishing 4 lengths clear of Speech in 1:43.20. It was a long 7 1/4 lengths back to Merneith third, and 4 1/2 more to Regal Beauty last.

Winning trainer Ken McPeek said, "I was reluctant to bring her We thought maybe we ought to wait for the Ashland with a short field and everything. She's easy to be around, she loves to run. They asked me to bring her vet records, I said 'There aren't any!' They went 22 and change speed early, which kind of surprised me, but she's got it in her. She's getting better too, I think." Jockey Mike Smith added, "When a horse puts their ears forward like that, that means there usually is something left in the tank. They are kind of taking a breather, looking at things. When I tightened the reins up she really accelerated I kept busy until about the eighth pole and really, she was on cruise control after that. She's an extremely talented filly."



horse racing
Improbable winning the Hollywood Gold Cup
Closing out the stakes action was the $300,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (G1) for older horses going 1 1/4 miles. Oaklawn Mile runner-up Improbable was the 6-5 favorite over 2-1 Midcourt, 3rd in the Santa Anita Handicap (G1), and 3-1 Higher Power, 10th in the Pegasus World Cup (G1). 15-1 Brown Storm set the pace of 23.24, 47.57, and 1:11.84 while pressed by Improbable and stalked by Higher Power. Entering the lane Brown Storm tired as Improbable took over through 1 mile in 1:36.26. Kept to task by Drayden Van Dyke, Improbable drew off to win by 3 1/4 lengths over Higher Power in 2:01.69. It was another 4 1/2 lengths back to 19-2 Tenfold third.

Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "Everyone thought this horse was a turf horse and I thought he needed the dirt. This horse is only going to get better." Jockey Drayden Van Dyke added, "It's Awesome, walking back it's just kind of getting it into my head, I just won the Hollywood Gold Cup, there's so much history in that race. To be a part of it, I'm blessed. He's matured, he still has his antics in the gate a little bit. When he travels he seems to have more troubles at the gate, today he did everything perfect."



horse racing
Hariboux winning the Cinema Stakes
The $150,000 Cinema Stakes featured 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles on the turf. 30-1 longest shot Dominant Soul set the pace of 24.64, 49.63, and 1:14.22 pressed by 4-5 favorite Hariboux and stalked by 7-2 Heywoods Beach. At the 3/16 Hariboux took over from the tiring Dominant Soul to lead through 1 mile in 1:38.57, and held off late-running 2-1 second choice K P All Systems Go by a neck in 1:50.29. It was another lengths back to Heywoods Beach third.

Winning trainer Jeff Mullins said, "(Jockey Umberto Rispoli) took it upon himself to get up and get position. I hadn't given him any instructions. Normally you're cussing when they make a move like that, but it worked out."



horse racing
Grinning Tiger winning the Crystal Water Stakes
A field of 8 California bred/sired older horses contested the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes at 1 mile on the turf. Jockey Heriberto Figueroa sent 92-1 longest shot Grinning Tiger to the front through fractions of 23.46, 47.73, and 1:12.11 while pressed by 38-1 Cono and stalked by 15-2 King Abner. Turning for home, Grinning Tiger held the lead, pulling away to win by 1 3/4 lengths over 3-1 second choice Lieutenant Dan in 1:35.75. It was 1/2 a length back to 26-1 Brandonthebartender third, while 4-5 favorite Prince Earl was 7th.

Winning trainer Anthony Saavedra said, ""I really did think we could get it done. He shuts off so easy, he's not a runoff. He will just bow that head and do whatever we want him to do. We were dying to try the two turns. I've entered this horse five times, but nothing filled. We were going to scratch him at the last minute but we all came together and said he needs to run." Jockey Heriberto Figueroa added, "I tried to let him relax, he's very hyper. You have to keep it quiet and talk to him really nice and easy. He relaxed pretty good today."



horse racing
She's So Special winning the Desert Code Stakes
The $75,000 Desert Code Stakes featured a field of 6 three-year-olds sprinting 5 1/2 furlongs on the turf. 25-1 Phantom Boss set the pace of 20.76 and 43.59 while pressed by 27-1 longest shot Party Town and stalked by 7-2 Thanks Mr. Eidson. In the lane, 7-5 favorite She's So Special, 4th early under Flavien Prat, closed with a rush to win by 1/2 a length over 7-2 El Tigre Terrible in 1:01.52. It was another head back to Thanks Mr. Eidson third.



horse racing
Super Patriot winning the Fran's Valentine Stakes
The first race of the afternoon was the $100,000 Fran's Valentine Stakes for California bred/sired fillies and mares at 1 mile on the turf. 6-1 Cordiality set the pace of 24.03, 48.22, and 1:11.77 while pressed by 7-2 Sedamar and stalked by 2-1 Warren's Showtime. Sedamar took over the lead midstretch through 7f in 1:23.76 but 3-2 favorite Super Patriot, last early under Flavien Prat, rallied by 3 wide to win by 1 3/4 lengths in 1:35.66. It was another 1/2 length back to Warren's Showtime third.

Winning trainer and co-owner Richard Baltas said, "She's not easy to deal with, but she is special. She's got a great turn of foot. They were walking, but she was off the bridle and looked very comfortable. All I told Flavien was ‘Don't get her stopped.' She was inside, then he took her outside. He's Flavien Prat!"


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