Santa Anita Derby Race History

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Facts and Points of Interest for the Santa Anita Derby

The Santa Anita Derby is one of the biggest races on the Road to the Kentucky Derby. It is worth a whopping $1 million and offers a point split of 100-40-20-10 to the top four finishers. Run over 1 1/8th miles, it is easily the most vital step for west coast runners who wish to score big in the Kentucky Derby.

To that end, ten horses have gone on to earn the double win in the Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby. Lucky Debonair is one of them, and also holds the  speed record at 1:47.00. He shares the record with 1973 winner Sham and 1998 winner Indian Charlie.

  • Exaggerator won the 2016 Santa Anita Derby and established himself well on the derby trail overall. He would finish second to Nyquist in the Kentucky Derby and then win the Preakness Stakes.
  • Though he didn’t find much success after winning the 2015 Santa Anita Derby, Dortmund is one of the race’s most notable winners. He would lose the Kentucky Derby to American Pharoah and finish fourth in the Preakness Stakes.
  • The most notable winner of the Santa Anita Derby is California Chrome, won the 2014 renewal to propel himself to a Kentucky Derby victory as the even money favorite. California Chrome would dominate the Preakness Stakes and then fall to fourth in the Belmont Stakes. As one of the greatest champions ever, California Chrome is noted for also winning the 2016 Dubai World Cup and finishing second in the 2016 Breeders’ Cup Classic behind Arrogate.
  • Goldencents won the 2013 Santa Anita Derby, but was brutal in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. He did manage to salvage his career with wins in the 2013 and 2014 Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile.
  • I’ll Have Another was the 2012 Santa Anita Derby winner, and was listed as a 3/1 second choice behind 8/5 favorite Bodemeister in what’s considered one of the best Kentucky Derby fields of all time. He would also win the Preakness Stakes, but was sadly injured days prior to the Belmont Stakes and retired.
  • Pioneerof the Nile picked up his biggest career win in the 2009 Santa Anita Derby and came second behind 50/1 longshot Mine That Bird. He was also one of the top betting choices in the Preakness Stakes, but finished 11th well behind Rachel Alexandra. Pioneof the Nile’s greatest claim to fame is being the father of American Pharoah.
  • Point Given was the 2001 Santa Anita Derby winner. He entered the Kentucky Derby as an strong 4/5 favorite bit finished fifth behind Monarchos. Point Given rebounded to win the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes.
  • Free House won the Santa Anita Derby in 1997 and was longshot in the Triple Crown series. He finished third in the Kentucky Derby, runner-up in the Preakness and third again in the Belmont Stakes.
  • A.P. Indy scored in the 1992 Santa Anita Derby and despite being one of the best options for the Kentucky Derby, he was scratched due to injury. He would return for the Belmont Stakes and outlast My Memoirs for the win. He would win the 1992 Breeders’ Cup Classic and then retire to become one of the more prominent sires in the nation.
  • Mister Frisky entered the 1990 Kentucky Derby as a favorite thanks in large part to a masterful performance in the Santa Anita Derby. He had an undefeated record of 16-0-0 going in to the first leg of the Triple Crown, but would fall to eighth. He seemingly never recovered from finishing poorly in the Preakness Stakes.
  • Sunday Silence began his absurdly dominant 1989 season with wins in the San Felipe Stakes and Santa Anita Derby before winning the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. His Triple Crown bid was upset by Easy Goer, his career rival. The two would face off in the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Classic with Sunday Silence prevailing as Easy Goer finished in second.
  • Winning Colors is the most recent filly to have won the Santa Anita Derby, scoring in the 1988 rendition prior to a huge victory in the Kentucky Derby.
  • Snow Chief won the 1986 Santa Anita Derby and also won the Preakness Stakes.
  • Skywalker may have placed poorly in the Kentucky Derby after winning the 1985 Santa Anita Derby but made up for it a year later by winning the 1986 Breeders’ Cup Classic.
  • Codex secured the 1980 Santa Anita Derby, but skipped the Kentucky Derby due to a conflict with his owners. He beat Kentucky Derby winner Genuine Risk in the 1980 Preakness Stakes.
  • Affirmed first won the 1978 Santa Anita Derby before ripping apart the Triple Crown and emerging as one of the greatest race horses of all time.
  • Avator was the 1975 Santa Anita Derby winner and finished second at 11/1 in the Kentucky Derby. He then fell to fifth behind Master Derby in the Preakness but finally scored big in the Belmont Stakes.
  • Sham won the 1973 Santa Anita Derby and then placed second in both the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes behind Secretariat.
  • Majestic Prince spring boarded from his win in the 1969 Santa Anita Derby to win the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes before losing the Belmont Stakes after much controversy due to his overall health.
  • Lucky Debonair won both the 1966 Santa Anita Derby and the Kentucky Derby.
  • Candy Spots won the 1963 Santa Anita Derby and the Florida Derby and ran well in the Triple Crown, winning the Preakness Stakes. He lost the Kentucky Derby and Belmont Stakes to Chateaugay.
  • Swaps would win the 1955 Santa Anita Derby and then go on to upset Preakness and Belmont Stakes champion Nashua in the Kentucky Derby.
  • Determine won the 1954 Santa Anita Derby prior to upsetting Correlation in the Kentucky Derby.
  • Hill Gail became the first horse in history to win both the Santa Anita Derby and Kentucky Derby by scoring the double result in 1952.
  • Cienca became the first filly to win the Santa Anita Derby, winning the 1939 renewal.