2015 Santa Anita Derby Picks and Analysis
Dortmund looks to extend undefeated streak to six against short
but talented field in Santa Anita Derby
2015 Santa Anita Derby-G1, Race 8, Santa Anita, Saturday, April 4, 2015
3-Year-Olds, 1 1/8-miles, Dirt, Purse: $1 Million
Santa Anita Derby Picks
3. Prospect Park
4. One Lucky Dane
Santa Anita Derby Analysis
Dortmund will attempt to run his lifetime undefeated streak to six in the
78th running of the Santa Anita Derby on Saturday against a field that is
short on entrants, but definitely not short on talent.
There’s no question that Dortmund is the horse to beat. He’s proven his
mettle in every way possible. He can win from on or off the pace; he’s proven
his heart under pressure; and trainer Bob Baffert has won the Santa Anita
Derby a record six times, albeit never with jockey Martin Garcia, who will
try for his first Santa Anita Derby win on Saturday. And just for insurance,
Baffert has another horse in this year’s renewal of the Santa Anita Derby,
One Lucky Dane, and he’s no slouch either.
Listed at 3/5 on the morning line, we’re guessing 4/5 or even money on
Dortmund would be a fair price, but it’s a case of you can’t bet on him
and you can’t bet against him at those odds. The only way to make money
on this race appears to be the exacta.
In theory the race sets up with One Lucky Dane either forcing or being
part of the early pace, which is likely to be set by 30-1 longshot Bad Read
Sanchez. We’re not even sure what Sanchez is doing in the race other than
trying to steal it, but his trainer Doug O’Neill did win the Santa Anita
Derby in 2012 with I’ll Have Another and in 2013 with Goldencents. The Santa
Anita Derby is 1 1/8-miles however, and Sanchez has never been further than
six furlongs. Regardless, One Lucky Dane looks like a very solid speed horse
himself, and he’s already won at a mile. He could also improve.
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While Dortmund does have the talent to force the pace and win, you have
to think Baffert is more likely to send One Lucky Dane after Bad Read Sanchez.
Dortmund and Bolo should sit just back of the speed, while remaining entrants
Prospect Park and Cross the Line should take up the stalking positions.
Prospect Park tried stakes company and Dortmund for the first time in his
last start in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe-G2 on March 7 at Santa Anita and
finished a good second beaten 1 1/4-lengths. He had to alter course to the
tune of about a length in the stretch in that race and likely could have
made it a lot closer. The problem is, Dortmund probably still had something
left in the tank, and even if Prospect Park improves, he still has to out-game
the reigning champ. That could be very difficult to do even under top Santa
Anita rider Kent Desormeaux, who won the Santa Anita Derby aboard Free House
More interesting is Bolo, who made his first start for trainer Carla Gaines
as a 3-year-old off a two-month layoff in the San Felipe and finished a
tiring third beaten 1 3/4-lengths after making a bid to deep stretch. Slated
to be ridden by Mike Smith, who won the Santa Anita Derby aboard Tiago in
2007, Bolo has tactical speed and he’ll be much fitter for his second start
off the layoff. His sire, Temple City, won the Cougar II-G3 going 1 1/2-miles
at Del Mar and he is also a son of stamina influence Dynaformer. A stakes
winner on the turf at two, Bolo appears to have some quality to him and
we likely haven’t seen his best yet.
Rounding out the field is California Derby winner Cross the Line, who finished
second in the El Camino Real Derby-G3 in his most recent start going 1 1/8-miles
at Golden Gate. He should rally late, but the top three in this field are
much tougher than those he’s been facing.
Despite appearing to be the best horse, Dortmund probably doesn’t have
a much room for error in this year’s Santa Anita Derby. Either Bolo or Prospect
Park could make him pay if he gets involved too early in the pace battle
or gets himself into trouble, as the favorite oddly always seems to do in
small fields. Dortmund’s heart and talent can overcome a lot, but…
We’ll bet Dortmund on top of Bolo and Prospect Park in the exacta and reverse
our bet for half the amount. We’ll also make a small win bet on Bolo, who
could go off as an overlay third choice in the wagering. If we can get 7/2
or better on him, that’s much more enticing than Dortmund at an underlay
price of 3/5.
This year’s Kentucky Derby winner could come out of this race. Watch closely.