Arcadia, California – The 75th Santa Anita Derby is live on NBC this Saturday with a field of 10 entering the starting gate at Santa Anita Park. The first post is at 12pm with three graded stakes races on the card. If you are heading to Santa Anita Park be sure to catch the Garrett Gomez book signing and get your Derby Day T-shirt.
Bob Baffert will be stacking his deck, sending out three horses for the Santa Anita Derby. Liaison with jockey Rafael Bejarano opened up as at 8/1 on the morning line odds after drawing post two and is expected to be Baffert’s best chance to win. Jockey Martin Garcia will get the mount for Paynter and drew post six with morning line odds of 12/1. Trainer Bob Baffert’s long shot is Blueskiesnrainbows with jockey Joe Talamo who just had his 1000th career win this week and has been on a hot streak as of late.
The Santa Anita Derby has been absolutely dominated by Bob Baffert over the years. California’s major Kentucky Derby prep race for the Kentucky Derby on May 5th at Churchill Downs has been won a record six times. Last year Baffert won the Santa Anita Derby with Midnight Interlude, owned by Arnold Zetcher who is also the owner of Liaison. When Bob Baffert was asked this morning about how he was feeling he said “Back to work. I feel like a hundred bucks” as he is still recovering and adjusting to the new lifestyle changes.
“I thought I was invincible,” Baffert said. “I looked through my family history, top and bottom, and no one’s had a heart attack. But I had high cholesterol, horrible eating habits. I knocked off two porterhouses at the Arroyo Chop House before I left. I’m one of those who would eat all the fat. The doctor told me I could have meat maybe every 15 days. I was like, ‘Are you kidding me?’
“But I feel like I got a second chance. I’d have five Diet Cokes a day. I’d have three or four cups of coffee. Today I just had one. I’d eat BLT’s. And there’s a lot of stress in this job.”
Creative Cause trained by Mike Harrington with jockey Joel Rosario is the morning line favorite at 6/5 despite drawing post number one. With four wins in seven career starts including the San Felipe Stakes at Santa Anita Park, the gray colt has never finished worse than third and never been beaten by more than a length. “Good horses overcome adversity and he’s had some but I guess he likes to run. Horses that like to run perform every time!” said trainer Mike Harrington when commenting on Creative Cause.
Trainer Mike Harrington has never had a Kentucky Derby horse and at 71 years young, Creative Cause could be just the solution. Harrington is hopeful that his horse simply stays healthy and gets in the starting gate for the first Saturday in May as he feels Creative Cause might have an advantage having run over the dirt in Churchill Downs already.
“The Kentucky Derby is a circus, and my horse, although he can get a little bit hot and could be a little nervous, I was very pleased with the way he handled the Breeders’ Cup. I’ve schooled him several times and he was good in the paddock, he was good in the post parade that day, maybe got a little rattled at the gate. That’s going to be the problem with the Derby. When you got twenty horses getting in the gate, they’re all going to get rattled at some point in time but I think he’ll handle it as well as any of them” said Harrington.
I’ll Have Another drew post four and was made the second betting favorite at 5/2 morning line odds. Trained by Doug O’Neill and with jockey Mario Gutierrez getting the mount, I’ll Have Another will try to win two in a row coming off his shocking 43-1 upset in the Robert B. Lewis Stakes. I’ll Have Another is also bringing the 33rd ranked horse in all-time winnings with him to show him the way. Lava Man is the richest horse to ever be converted into a racetrack pony and with his calm demeanor and experience will surely be an asset to I’ll Have Another.
“It’s literally like having Arnold Palmer as your caddie. It’s incredible to see him doing what he’s doing with the young horses, chaperoning them to the track and mentoring them. I’ll Have Another has been great with Lava Man in the mornings the last couple of months, and they get along super. We figure they get along so well in the mornings, it could be great to have them go to the gate, to have a champion like Lava Man, if they do talk, to tell them to ‘relax, breathe and save it for the last quarter mile” said Doug O’Neill.
Complete field in post position order with jockey, trainer and morning line odds for the Santa Anita Derby at Santa Anita Park in California:
1. Creative Cause Joel Rosario Mike Harrington 6-5
2. Liaison Rafael Bejarano Bob Baffert 8-1
3. Holy Candy Alonso Quinonez John Sadler 8-1
4. I’ll Have Another Mario Gutierrez Doug O’Neill 5-1
5. Longview Drive Russell Baze Jerry Hollendorfer 12-1
6. Paynter Mario Garcia Bob Baffert 12-1
7. Senor Rain Eswan Flores Peter Miller 15-1
8. Midnight Transfer Mike Smith Carla Gaines 10-1
9. Blueskiesnrainbows Joe Talamo Bob Baffert 20-1
10. Brother Francis Garrett Gomez James Cassidy 20-1