2022 Santa Anita Derby
- Saturday April 9th, 2022
- Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, California
- $750,000 purse
- Grade 1
What is the Santa Anita Derby?
The Santa Anita Derby is one of the biggest races of the year in terms of the purse, but it's also incredibly important in terms of points to qualify for the Kentucky Derby later in the year.
First place will secure 100 points towards qualification as well as the big purse for winning, while the runner-up will earn 40 points. Third place gets 20 points while fourth place will secure 10 points towards the biggest race of the year.
In the past, those amounts have always been enough for the winner and the runner-up to qualify since the points system was introduced in 2013. The third and fourth place usually need to earn a few more points on the road to the race, but it has been enough sometimes to get them there too.
Previous Triple Crown winners Affirmed and Justify both won the Santa Anita Derby too, while the all-time greats like Winning Colors, Sunday Silence, and California Chrome were also successful here. The winner of this race usually goes on to be very successful.
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Santa Anita Derby prep results
The Santa Anita Derby is the final race in a series of prep races en route to the Triple Crown.
This year, three different horses have won the preps on the Santa Anita spur of the Kentucky Derby trail. Newgrange was successful in the Sham and then went on to win the Southwest (G3) in his very next start.
Messier won the Lewis and is expected to be among the field for this race. In contrast, Forbidden Kingdom, a dominant winner at San Felipe, is also expected to be among the front-runners for the Santa Anita Derby.
Messier was previously under the training banner of the legendary Bob Baffert but has since been moved to the stable of Tim Yakteen.
So far in his career, he has been consistent and successful, as expected when you consider that he is the son of Empire Maker.
In five career starts to date he has never finished worse than second place including victories in both the Bob Hope (G3) last year and the Lewis this year.
These performances and the consistency he has shown make him a big contender, and he's certainly one to watch for this race.
Santa Anita Derby 2022
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Like Messier, McLaren Vale has been transferred from the Bob Baffert stable to that of Tim Yakteen with the former preparing to serve a suspension.
The son of the red-hot Gun Runner, McLaren Vale has been lightly raced in his career so far to date.
He broke his maiden at Santa Anita back in December despite a slow start, and his only other start saw him finish in third in the San Vicente. He attempted a late chase on eventual winner Forbidden Kingdom, but he couldn't quite catch fellow stablemate Pinehurst to claim place honors.
That performance should have you thinking a little more about a potential bet on McLaren Vale, but he's shown good riding in the past and could be a decent outside bet to land the victory here.
After winning his debut maiden special weight at Del Mar in August of last year, this Richard Mandella-trained horse is certainly among the favorites for victory here.
He has come into his own throughout the winter, earning the victory in the San Vincente back in January, a seven-furlong race that while offering no points towards qualification has often proved to be a great tell for future contenders.
The son of a Triple Crown winner in American Pharoah, there is victory in his blood and he could easily provide that this weekend.
Having won the San Felipe so convincingly, five and three-quarter lengths ahead of his closest competitor under a hand ride, it's hard to ignore him here.
He has the form, the pace and the trainer to lead him to victory so he is certainly my pick to come out victorious this weekend.
Santa Anita Derby 2022
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