Tipsheet 2024 Santa Anita Derby

April 4th, 2024

A total of eight three-year-olds will run 1 1/8 miles in Saturday’s $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1)

Santa Anita Derby Picks

  • #3 Stronghold
  • #5 Wynstock
  • #7 McVay

Santa Anita Derby Wagers

Santa Anita Derby Contenders

#1 CURLIN’S KAOS: Antonio Garcia trainee was well beaten when fourth in the Sunland Park Derby (G3) last time out and faces tougher on this occasion. The Clubhouse Ride gelding is well placed inside for his initial try at nine panels, but he will need major improvement to factor late beneath Diego Herrera. 

#2 TAPALO: Top-three threat has been steadily improving for John Sadler and ran a winning race in defeat when second in the El Camino Real Derby most recently. This bay son of Tapiture has run well in both local tries to date, and the move to 1 1/8 miles might be in his wheelhouse, as well. The New York-bred fired a bullet five-eighths in advance of Saturday and will have Umberto Rispoli up. 

#3 STRONGHOLD: Top pick hasn’t done much wrong in his career to this point and looms large second off the shelf for Phil D’Amato. The Ghostzapper homebred was a measured winner of the Sunland Derby in his latest appearance and has trained well in the interim. The bay has the early speed to stay in range early, and I envision him inching clear in the stretch with regular pilot Antonio Fresu in the silks. 

#4 IMAGINATION: San Felipe S. (G2) star didn’t beat a deep cast in his first stakes triumph, but he did show heart when passed turning for home and surely merits respect in the feature. This Bob Baffert pupil has been first or second in each of his five lifetime races to date, and I expect him to be well placed just off of the early tempo to the top of the lane on Saturday. Frankie Dettori retains the ride.  

#5 WYNSTOCK: Expected pacesetter from the Baffert shedrow does his best work when on top early and he will be sent from the gate by Juan Hernandez. The Solomini colt faltered early in the muddy Southwest S. (G3) in his latest showing, but he has worked well since, and marked improvement is expected in this contest. The chestnut comes in with a rapid half-mile bullet drill from the gate in preparation for his Grade 1 debut. 

#6 TESSUTO: Dark bay son of Munnings made good in his initial route run last out, but he takes a hefty class rise from the maiden ranks for George Papaprodromou. The Kentucky-bred is a nice prospect going forward, but he would be a surprise to me with Kazushi Kimura inheriting the mount. 

#7 MC VAY: John Shirreffs trainee has run into some good ones in his lifetime and has exotics appeal from off the pace in a field with a lot of pace signed on. The expensive Constitution colt was 6 3/4 lengths back in the San Felipe, but he will get a more favorable pace to run at in here, and he has been training in swift fashion as of late, too. Hector Berrios will be in the stirrups. 

#8 E J WON THE CUP: Turf Paradise Derby victor has led in wire-to-wire fashion in two straight, but he will rise in class and also likely have to run from off the tempo for Doug O’Neill. This Omaha Beach chestnut needs a major step forward to pull off the upset against this cast with Mike Smith in the irons.