The Santa Anita Derby is likely the final prep for many in this field before the 2016 Kentucky Derby. Many are ready to run in the California sun and cement the chances at a Run for the Roses on the first Saturday in May. Each trainer, jockey, or ownership group has a reason for “their” horse in the 2016 Santa Anita Derby field but some will have better chances than others.
Race: Santa Anita Derby (G1)
Location: Santa Anita
Distance: Mile and a eighth
Age: 3 Year Olds
Date: Saturday, April 9th 2016
Post Time: 6:30 PM ET
TV Coverage: NBC Sports Network
The Backstory – Over the years I have continued to modify how I break down each race based on input from the readers (Thank for your reading and leaving feedback). Years ago I provided very granular and in-depth analysis of each horse in the field. However, as many claimed the reading was dry and over the top as such I began the change. Now you will find data about each horse, how it should shake out, and we will have a little fun doing it.
If you want just the raw numbers then Brisnet, Equibase, or even the Daily Racing Form are right up your alley (and mine since I love them all) but if you want the breakdown with a twist then read on and enjoy. The track record is solid since I tend to stick with the big races each year. You will not find a breakdown of a claiming race next Sunday but if you want the major preps, Triple Crown series, Travers, and more than this is the place for you.
2016 Santa Anita Derby Contenders, Picks, Betting | Santa Anita – Breakdown and Betting
|1||15-1||Denman's Call||Bejarano||Never missed the board in three starts including second in the San Pedro and a third in the San Vicente Stakes. Appears to have talent up one side and down the other but…can he handle the classic distances? Bejarano will have him up front pressing and knows how to win in So. Cal. so we will see what happens as he approaches a mile and beyond. Live.|
|2||4-1||Exaggerator||Desormeaux||Three wins in eight lifetime starts for the steady starter. He just doesn't lay a clunker often only missing the board twice. Fourth in last year's BC Juvenile and third last out in the San Felipe Stakes. He will be stalking the pace and will give his steady best. The question is if his best is ever good enough. Definite exotic play.|
|3||9-5||Danzig Candy||Smith||Three-for-four lifetime and perfect three-for-three at Santa Anita. Last time out he beat Mor Spirit by 2 in the San Felipe Stakes during his stakes debut. Each race shows improving speed figures and the affinity for the track is not in question. Deserving of morning line.|
|4||8-5||Mor Spirit||Stevens||Lifetime winner of three-of-six starts with three runner-ups is a real threat here and in May. Lost last out to Danzig Candy in the San Felipe but that is no gimmie. He ran into trouble in that race and that was the difference. It is not an excuse, just a fact. Clear sailing for the stalker and with a logical pace battle up front, this could be revenge.|
|5||15-1||Smokey Image||Espinoza||Tough call but why? Well he won six straight stakes races to start his career. Then stepped up to graded stakes competition and was flattened by almost 20 lengths. So… Do you believe the talent was that different or do you throw out the last as a dud that was due to happen sometime. He has Espinoza on board who knows how to get it done. Toss at your own risk.|
|6||12-1||Iron Rob||Elliott||Three-for-10 lifetime is deceiving. Did not break through until seventh start but since he has been much improved. Enters the gate off back-to-back wins including the San Pedro Stakes. Much like others, distance is a concern. While on the grass, he did try a mile once and missed by double digits. More than likely a pace setter that can set this race up for others.|
|7||15-1||Dressed in Hermes||Prat||In an interesting twist, there are no Kenucky Derby aspirations here. Instead this is a prep for the American Turf Stakes on the Derby card. The three time stakes winner on turf is not a fan of the dirt as proven by his poor showing in the San Felipe. Might crack back end of the exacta.|
|8||30-1||Rare Candy||Talamo||0-for-six lifetime and 0-for-four this year. Last raced on the 27th of March and returns to quite the test. Smokin Joe is on his back and he was a runner-up last out but this is asking an aweful lot just to hit the back end of the exotics. Hard to give any love.|
|9||30-1||Diplodocus||Baze||Poor fifth last out at Golden Gate in the El Camino Real Derby. The 17 hands monster only has one way to run but the training lately shows improvement. Might be a late bloomer but that would predicate summer and not April success. Baze is aboard and he tends to get the most of his horse. Hard to peg but form isn't great in races but training is much improved. A flyer?|
|10||20-1||Uncle Lino||Perez||Also a member of the San Felipe field but he was crushed by 10 lengths. Lifetime he has one win in five starts but never worse than fourth. Valiant run to finish second in the Robert Lewis. By Uncle Mo and Shackleford is in the veins. Distance could be right there if he can bounce back.|
This race is one that I am going to try and find value in. That means there will be no 8-5 and 9-5 on my trifecta ticket. After looking at the field I think there is a way. Danzig Candy is one of the two favorites for the 2016 running of the Santa Anita Derby and he is deserving of the 9-5 morning line. He is three-for-four lifetime and is coming in off a very impressive score over More Spirit in the San Felipe. A Hall of Fame rider in Smith has been aboard for all three scores. The question is whether or not he needs the lead or can be forwardly placed without needing the lead which could be compromised by the likes of Denman’s Call, Iron Rob and others who probably won’t make the distance. That determination this Saturday will go a long way in determining what happens in May as well. I think he deserves the benefit of the doubt now.
It is true that Mor Spirit lost last time out to the previously mentioned but you can argue that there was a bit of trouble in the race. More concern is that Mor Spirit appears to be a workman horse that will have to work his way through issues but the connections are there for success. The race prior he did capture the Robert Lewis. Even though many are high on him my major concern is simple; he seems to work his way through the pack to get to the front instead of kicking in a passing gear and moving forward. While not as big a concern this weekend, it sure will be in May. I am going to wait and let him show me something at the distance. Besides, call it “Spidy-Sense” or anything you like but I just feel like after his last two I feel like he is due for a sub-par run of it. This could be the time he finishes fifth or worse.
When you get past those two you have to consider some others. Dressed in Hermes is not planning on moving on to the Kentucky Derby and is using this $1 million race as a prep. Dirt has been a problem for him as he has thrived on grass but, if the forecast holds and the track is wet then the bets could be off and with the expected pace he could get something to really run at here. Exaggerator is another with a chance to be on the board. There is a thought that he cannot handle a track with two wide turns. I for one am not in agreement there. He might not be stellar but he is steady. I might not love him to win but he makes a living on the board and in a race like this, his steady stalking style could be right what is needed.
In a case of the interesting, do not exclude Smokey Image. Yes he wants and arguably needs the front but, the question is whether the last start was a result of the competition or just a dud. It is hard to believe you run off three stakes wins and then enter his last and lose by 20. I can see the loss on a step up but that was just bad. Espinoza knows how to get around here and I am willing to give him the benefit that he can find a way to the board here despite the pressure he will face.
Longshot / Sleeper With a Chance – Dressed in Hermes
2016 Santa Anita Derby Contenders, Picks, Betting | Santa Anita – The Bets
How will it all shake out? It is almost impossible to tell but based on the data I provided in the contenders analysis and the preceding paragraphs, I present some logical betting options based on your favorite cup of tea or betting style. How do you bet a horse race?? What type of bankroll are you playing with? Is it about having a good time and being a part of the spectacle? Or is it about finding a way to make money? No matter what you want or the size of your bankroll there are different ways you can approach the 2016 Santa Anita Derby.
Below are my examples of how to play the 2016 Santa Anita Derby based on bankroll. This is a first look at the field in an attempt to maximize a “safe bet” return for the 2016 Santa Anita Derby Contenders, Picks, Betting | Santa Anita
|$1 Exacta Box||2 with 3 with 7|
|$1 Trifecta Box||2 with 3 with 7|
|$4 Win / Place||7|
|$2 Exacta Box||2 with 3 with 7|
|$1 Trifecta||2,3,7 with 2,3,5,7|
|$4 Win / Place||7|
|$.10 Super Box||2 with 3 with 5 with 7 with 10|