Here comes the Best of the West. California racing checks in with nationwide bettors on the last Super Saturday en route to the Kentucky Derby via the Santa Anita Derby in Arcadia. We’ll take a look at Santa Anita Derby odds in our latest road to the Kentucky Derby preview.
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2023 Santa Anita Derby Odds
Favored Practical Move has already qualified for the May 6 Run for the Roses at Churchill Downs, but will seek a payday for his connections in the $750,000 1 1/8-mile race. It has a post time of 5:43 p.m. ET, with betting action accessible via FanDuel TV.
Contenders Geaux Rocket Ride, National Treasure and Skinner all have Derby aspirations at stake. Their connections eagerly want a piece of the 100-40-30-20-10 point structure for the top five finishers.
The Kentucky Derby dubs these prep races “Win And You’re In” because the first horse across the line will be invited to Louisville. Connections can add two more phrases to that on the final qualification weekend: “Place You Embrace” and “Show And You Go.” That is, the second and third-place finishers from this race will likely qualify for the Kentucky Derby too.
There is thus an abundance of racing and betting drama on the final big qualification weekend.
Here is a look at the field with morning-line odds, which become official at post time per parimutuel regulations.
|1||I Don't Get It||20-1||Doug O'Neill||Mario Gutierrez|
|2||Dazzlemesilver||50-1||Keith Desormeaux||Kent Desormeaux|
|3||Geaux Rocket Ride||3-1||Richard Mandella||Flavien Prat|
|4||Oneinvermillion||50-1||Eric Kruljac||Hector Berrios|
|5||Practical Move||8-5||Tim Yakteen||Ramon Vazuez|
|6||National Treasure||3-1||Tim Yakteen||John Velazquez|
|7||Skinner||4-1||John Shirreffs||Victor Espinoza|
|8||Mandarin Hero||8-1||Terunobo Fujita||Kazushi Kimura|
|9||Low Expectations||30-1||Antonio Garcia||Umberto Rispoli|
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Let’s dive into the field, horse by horse.
1. I Don’t Get It (20-1)
- That might be bettors’ first response to a recent maiden special weights winner jumping into this major stakes fray.
- Connections feel otherwise about the son of Preakness winner Cloud Computing, who is likely bred to go far. Torrential rains have kept a number of horses sidelined in their training schedules.
- He’s fit. He won in March. And he’s in, on the rail.
2. Dazzlemesilver (50-1)
- Was decisively-beaten third against I Don’t Get It, but the same consideration applies. He’s fit, why not take a shot?
3. Geaux Rocket Ride (3-1)
- Splendid effort in the San Felipe. Was in the early pace with Hejazi, was peppered and came again to get a game second behind Practical Move.
- Lightly raced, has time to evolve and it will be interesting to see if he can get the 1 1/8 miles.
- Can Flavien Prat make it a hat trick after riding Angel of Empire and Kingsbarns to recent Kentucky Derby prep stakes victories?
4. Oneinvermillion (50-1)
- Connections found themselves on the wrong end of Wild On Ice’s wild 35-1 upset in the Sunland Derby. That longshot obtained the Kentucky Derby qualifying points many figured would go to Oneinvermillion or Low Expectations.
- Their owners then shipped their horses here, hoping for the kind of longshot magic Wild On Ice delivered. Linemakers don’t think so and gave this horse odds, relatively speaking, of about Oneinvermillion.
5. Practical Move (8-5)
- Superb winning effort in the San Felipe. Had excellent back class and enjoyed a solid stalking trip behind Hejazi, making a move around the final turn.
- The best part of the rally was that it was sustained. It was, quite literally, a practical move, because it enabled him to thunder down the homestretch and win in definitive fashion.
- Nothing suggests he should not be able to do that again.
- If he stretches out no better or worse than his opposition, he won’t be beaten if this move looks like the last one.
- The pick.
6. National Treasure (3-1)
- Had all sorts of back-class credentials until being scratched just before the San Felipe with a foot injury.
- The horse comes first, the connections said regarding concern for his safety. They were right about that and now they hope they have the horse that can at least capture the 40-point second prize.
- Strong horse, unknown quantity regarding training.
7. Skinner (4-1)
- Ran a full out third in the San Felipe. Was closing late to nearly catch Geaux Rocket Ride for second.
- One of the best horses in this race. He should already hit the board based on past performance. Slight improvement would make him a win threat.
8. Mandarin Hero (8-1)
- Already a sentimental winner by creating excitement about importation of the rapidly-improving Japanese horse-racing program. Ever since Marche Lorraine and Loves Only You annexed Breeders’ Cup championships at Del Mar in 2021, racing has embraced the industry’s new talent source.
- Mandarin Hero was 4-for-4 last year in Japan, in racing levels considered approximate to allowance company. One of his noted efforts included a 4-furlong timing of 50 seconds and 1 mile in 1:41.37. That would not get it done here.
- Connections obtained the service of countryman Kazushi Kimura, one of the brightest new lights on the California racing circuit, to ride him. Kimura has been the leading rider at Woodbine two years in a row and gets his share of victories at Santa Anita.
- Feeling is that he will fall short, but still give relatively good account.
9. Low Expectations (30-1)
- Aptly named for this race. His people have high aspirations, yes, as they need a top finish to reach the Kentucky Derby.
- Shipping out to California and facing this field, by contrast, creates low expectations, at least in the eyes of the oddsmakers.
Not much of it. Geaux Rocket Ride has shown the best early foot of this group and may inherit the lead. If he also inherits a dawdling pace, he’ll be a real threat.
Practical Move, Skinner and perhaps National Treasure will probably use some tactical speed to obtain position and hold their fire until the homestretch.
If nobody steals it, the race begins in earnest at the top of the stretch.
Betting Considerations And Santa Anita Derby Projected Picks
My angle will be that Practical Move (5), Geaux Rocket Ride (3), National Treasure (6) and Skinner (7) run to form as the class of the race.
My betting experience has been that horses who initially dominate in California continue to dominate in California. That’s different than in other circuits, which draw more interest from outside their area.
I’ll play Practical Move on the win line at 7-5 or better and will take a 5-3 exacta box regardless of the price. A backup exacta with National Treasure, in case he’s sharp after the layoff.
Will play a 50-cent superfecta box 3-5-6-7 for $12 and seek some Superfectas on sale. That means the 5 over 3-6-7 in a $1 super key for $6 and a $1 super 5-3 with 6-7 for $4.
In this scenario, any combo of 3 and 5 in the first two spots and 6 and 7 in the next two spots is a winning play.
Boxing these horses cost $24 for a $1 super and may not be worth it. But would love to grab it on the cheap.
Will toss the 1 and the 8 at the bottom of one super bet just in case.
Can someone spoil the party? Of course. But this is a lot of entertainment for less than $50.
Good luck hitting the winner’s circle in Santa Anita Derby odds!
Remainder of Road To The Kentucky Derby Schedule
The Road to the Kentucky Derby schedule began in September. However, the win-and-in races began Feb. 18 with the Risen Star at Fair Grounds. That was the first race that awards 50 points to the winner. Below is the race schedule for the remaining 50 and 100-point prep races, enough for the race winners to qualify for the Kentucky Derby, if entered.
|Race||Track||Date||Points For Top Finishers|
|Wood Memorial||Aqueduct||Apr 8, 2023||100-40-30-20-10|
|Blue Grass||Keeneland||Apr 8, 2023||100-40-30-20-10|
|Santa Anita Derby||Santa Anita Park||Apr 8, 2023||100-40-30-20-10|