Santa Anita Derby a Three-Horse Race

Category : News - Sat 05/04/2014 - 16:24 EDT

California Chrome will be out to prove he deserves his ranking as the top West coast contender for the Kentucky Derby when he goes to the starting gate with seven others for the $1 million Grade I Santa Anita Derby on Saturday. Run over 1 1/8 miles, the Santa Anita is the final West coast prep for the Derby, and as part of the Derby challenge series to determine the 20 starters for the May 3 classic, the winner will receive 100 series points.

Top contenders have graded-stakes class

Going into the race as the 6-5 morning line favorite, California Chrome has won his last three straight, including a 7 1/4 length win his last start in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes, where he finished ahead of Midnight Hawk, also on the Derby trail. California Chrome’s biggest challenge would appear to come from Candy Boy (9-5) who opened his 2014 campaign with a win in the Grade I Robert B. Lewis Stakes, after a runner-up effort in the Grade I CashCall Futurity to close out 2013.

Hoppertunity has defeated tough fields

In with a shot and third choice at 3-1 is Hoppertunity, who only came to the track in 2014 but already has two wins in four lifetime starts, including an impressive score last time out in the Grade II Rebel, where he defeated a field that included the well regarded Tapiture as well as Strong Mandate, third in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. All other entries in the Santa Anita field are in double digits, with Schoolofhardrocks a 10-I outsider after having finished fourth in the San Felipe, the second race of his career so far.

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