Playing a Pick 3 on Santa Anita Derby Day

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

June 5th, 2020

The Road to the Kentucky Derby continues Saturdaym with the Santa Anita Derby (G1) at Santa Anita, which is also the kickoff leg of a competitive Pick 3 that features two Grade 1 races.

Looking forward to an exciting afternoon of high-class racing? Let’s follow the action by playing the Pick 3 on a $20 budget.

Race 8: Santa Anita Derby (G1, 7 p.m. ET)

Some folks will be tempted to single the undefeated #7 Authentic, the decisive winner of the Sham (G3) and San Felipe (G2) at Santa Anita. The speedy son of Into Mischief is clearly the colt to catch for nine-time Santa Anita Derby-winning trainer Bob Baffert, but Authentic figures to face pace pressure from #3 Shooters Shoot, and his pedigree suggests 1 1/8 miles could be stretching his stamina.

We’ll definitely use Authentic, but we’ll also back him up with #6 Honor A. P., who finished a game second in the San Felipe, in his return from an injury-induced five-month layoff. The son of Honor Code has been training up a storm and should be fitter and faster for his rematch with Authentic.

Race 9: Cinema S. (7:30 p.m. ET)

#3 K P All Systems Go is on the rise for trainer Jeff Mullins and looms a formidable presence in this 1 1/8-mile grass race for 3-year-olds.

The son of More Than Ready dominated a maiden race over this course and distance Jan. 25, when he sprinted the final furlong in :11 3/5 to win by six lengths over next-out winner Goalie. K P All Systems Go  displayed a similar turn of foot when he claimed a 1-mile allowance race March 20, with a :23 1/5 final quarter.

The Crystal Water is a competitive race, but K P All Systems Go will retain the services of hot jockey Abel Cedillo, and his acceleration should win the day. We’ll take a chance and single him in the Pick 3.

Race 10: Hollywood Gold Cup (G1, 8 p.m. ET)

#3 Higher Power got on a roll last year, when he dominated the 1 1/4-mile Pacific Classic (G1) and finished third, despite slow starts, in the Awesome Again (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1).

But while his 110 Brisnet Speed rating from the Pacific Classic is the highest in Saturday’s field, he hasn’t run since he finished last in the Jan. 25 Pegasus World Cup (G1) and will need to bounce back in a big way in his return from a 4 1/2-month layoff.

An alternative to the favorite is #2 Midcourt, a versatile gelding trained by John Shirreffs. Midcourt has flashed a wide variety of running styles and cracked the trifecta in five straight stakes, including a close third in the 1 1/4-mile Santa Anita Handicap (G1).

Shirreffs will remove the blinkers from this quirky colt, who has the speed to be involved from the outset, if he breaks alertly.

We’ll use both to round out the Pick 3.

Race 8: $5 Pick 3: 6,7 with 3 with 2,3 ($20)

Good luck!