A superb field of seven will go postward in the $400,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1) on Saturday, led by the top-two finishers of the San Felipe (G2).

Santa Anita Derby Analysis

The pace of the race could be swift and contested, with #2 Rushie, #3 Shooters Shoot, and #7 Authentic, all expected to be vying for the top spot early on. I think the winner of the Santa Anita Derby will come from off the pace.

Santa Anita Derby Contenders

#1 FRIAR’S ROAD — Maiden has improved with each lifetime outing and draws the rail for this demanding assignment. $500,000 Quality Road colt was a closing second with the addition of blinkers most recently, and the Kentucky-bred has a lot of long-term appeal for McCarthy. Bay could close for a minor award with improvement under Franco.

#2 RUSHIE — Second from the McCarthy shedrow upended a nice allowance field at Oaklawn Park and will be part of the early action on Saturday. Liam’s Map colt will need improvement to topple this fine cast, however. Flavien Prat inherits the mount.

#3 SHOOTERS SHOOT — Speedy sophomore has improved his Brisnet Speed number in each lifetime showing for Eurton, coming in with tallies in two straight overall. Potential pacesetter can’t be ignored beneath Abel Cedillo, especially if he establishes the early tempo.

#4 ANNEAU D’OR — Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) runner-up has been outrun in a pair of graded attempts this campaign for Wright. Medaglia d’Oro colt ran huge in his lone local appearance, and the Kentucky-bred wouldn’t surprise with an improved effort third time off the shelf on Saturday. Victor Espinoza will be in the stirrups.

#5 AZUL COAST — El Camino Real Derby victor comes in fresh for Baffert in what will be a real test of his class. Son of Super Saver was trounced by the favorite in the Sham (G3) on the surface two back, but he has a lot of room for growth and wouldn’t be a total surprise with a top effort on Saturday.

#6 HONOR A. P. — Top selection has never run a bad one from a trio of lifetime tries for Shirreffs. Honor Code 3-year-old was a strong second in the San Felipe in his seasonal debut and has obvious room for improvement second off the break. Dark bay is training well and retains the services of Mike Smith.

#7 AUTHENTIC — Horse to catch and beat has dominated three fields to date for Baffert. Into Mischief colt is perfect from a pair of runs over the Santa Anita oval, and he continues to train like a horse with a higher ceiling than what we have witnessed to this stage of his development. Regular pilot Drayden Van Dyke will pilot the unblemished colt.

Santa Anita Derby Wagers

  • $20 Win: #6 Honor A. P. ($20)
  • $2 Superfecta: 6 with 7 with 1,3 with all ($16)
  • $1 Superfecta: 6 with 1,3,7 with 1,3,7 with all ($24)