How to Wager on the 2017 Santa Anita Derby

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TwinSpires Staff

April 7th, 2017


The $1-million Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby headlines Saturday’s eleven-race card at “The Great Race Place.” For FREE Ultimate PPs of the Santa Anita Derby, CLICK HERE.

The field of thirteen will be competing not only for a seven-figure purse but also 170 points in the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points system with 100 to the winner.

With the stakes high and no dominant runner on the West Coast in 2017, the connections of three-year-olds in Southern California appear quite willing to take a shot and hope a strong performance leads to a trip to Louisville for the “Run for the Roses” next month.

The large field with no clear favorite offers horseplayers numerous ways to go in what is one of the more challenging races the circuit has offered in 2017.  

Odds maker John White made #9 Iliad the 7-2-morning line favorite off of his win two-back in the Grade 2 San Vicente and his runner-up effort last time out in the Grade 2 San Felipe. Multiple graded stakes winner #8 Gormley for trainer John Shirreffs was installed as the 9-2 second choice. These two may have the better resumes heading into Saturday, but I have more interest in a pair of runners coming out of a high-level optional claiming race on March 9th.

#2 Reach the World and #3 Battle of Midway hit the wire together in that mile and a sixteenth event that also featured #11 Irish Freedom. Battle of Midway got the jump on Reach the World and was able to barely hold him off in the final strides. The two lightly raced colts both impressed me that day and I believe offer the most room to improve. They are both listed at 5-1 on the morning line. I think one will win and both will run well.

#6 American Anthem broke flat-footed in the Rebel at Oaklawn and did not like kickback, so while the effort was extremely poor I can be a bit forgiven. He is a tough read, but since I am tossing the two morning line favorites, I will include him in my exotic wagers.

I also think there are a few others that will likely be overlooked by the public and have a chance to hit the board.

#7 Kimbear has just 1 win in 6 starts for trainer Eric Kruljac, but has hit the board in 5 of them. I like the mid-pack trip I envision for this son of Temple City in a race that should see several runners sending from the gate. The mile and an eighth distance is a question, but at 12-1 on the morning line he is definitely worth including underneath in the exotics.

#13 Royal Mo put in a dud in the Grade 2 Rebel Stakes at Oaklawn Park last month after a wire-to-wire score in a weak rendition of the Grade 3 Robert B. Lewis over this surface in early February. Jay Privman of the Daily Racing Form reported that trainer John Shireffs will use a tongue tie on the second of his uncoupled entrants because he thinks he may have displaced his palate in the poor effort in Arkansas. The son of Uncle Mo will likely have to send hard from his extreme outside post on Saturday, but if he can avoid an extremely wide trip and a hot early pace he can hang around for a piece.

Finally, two Doug O’Neill runners outside of the morning line favorite can help spice up the back end of the exotics.

#5 So Conflated returns to Southern California after a poor effort in the Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct. The Reddam Racing ridgling had shown a strong late kick before the trip to New York, including a winning effort as a maiden in the Cal Derby at Golden Gate on January 21st.  He could be rolling late.

#1 Term of Art put forth a career best effort in the San Felipe. If he can avoid regression off the third place finish last month, he certainly should have no problem getting the distance and once again grabbing a minor reward.

Here is how I will wager on the Santa Anita Derby (Race 8)

$10 Exacta Box

2+3 = $20

$4 Exacta Wheel

2+3 with 1+5+7+13 = $32

$1 Trifecta Wheel

2+3 with 2+3+6+7+13 with 1+2+3+5+6+7+13 = $40

$1 Superfecta Wheel

2+3 with 2+3 with 1+2+3+5+6+7+13 with 1+2+3+5+6+7+13 = $40

Total Wagers= $132