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Santa Anita Derby – Dortmund Gets To The Winner's Circle, Heads To The Kentucky Derby

Posted by on 4/1/2015 9:59:50 PM

The Grade-1 Santa Anita Derby is an official prep race for the Kentucky Derby and the biggest race on the West Coast swing on the road to Churchill Downs. A total of seven Santa Anita Derby winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, including last year's winner, California Chrome, and it also has a huge purse of $1,000,000 to give out as these three-year-olds run 1 1/8 miles on the dirt at Santa Anita Park.

This is a small but speedy field, but one thoroughbred stands out from the rest as Dortmund has been on a path to Churchill Downs since he was bred and a win in this race would send him there. It doesn't hurt that he has a world-class trainer that has won this race plenty of times, so look for Dortmund to power past the field and make his way to Kentucky.

What : Horse Betting

When : Saturday, April 4th, post time TBA

Where : Santa Anita Park, Arcadia, CA

Pick : Dortmund

Bad Read Sanchez broke his maiden on his first try, then came in second at the non-graded Willard L. Proctor Stakes before coming in third at the Grade-2 Best Pal and in a loaded field, he might be in over his head. That is not to say that this isn't a talented three-year-old and he could still sneak into the Kentucky Derby field over the next month with a few things going his way.

Bolo is the first of three starters from the Grade-2 San Felipe Stakes, where he finished third, and it was his first start on dirt after making his first three on turf. He needed two tries to break his maiden before winning the non-graded Eddie Logan, and for it being his dirt debut, finishing third in a strong field like the San Felipe is a big accomplishment for Bolo; keep an eye on him to finish in the money.

Cross The Line needed three attempts to his maiden before winning the non-graded California Derby, and then he finished second at the Grade-3 El Camino Real Derby in February. This will be his dirt debut as Cross The Line has only raced on synthetic surfaces, but he has finished in the top three in all five starts and he could cause a slight upset on Saturday to just get into the money at Santa Anita.

Dortmund, however, will come into this race as the favorite and he should be after winning the San Felipe to remain perfect in five starts. Three of his five starts have been graded-stakes events and he was bred to race on dirt (he was sired by Big Brown, which won the 2008 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes), the only surface on which he has ever run, so it'll take a lot for another horse to upset Dortmund, who is one of two horses trained by Bob Baffert, a six-time winner of the Santa Anita Derby.

One Lucky Dane is the other Baffert-trained thoroughbred, although he comes with substantially less fanfare than Dortmund. However, One Lucky Dane has a solid pedigree as he was sired by Lookin' At Luck, which finished third in his race in 2010 before going on to finishing sixth at the Kentucky Derby and first at the Preakness. He might need to take his performance up a notch as One Lucky Dane needed three tries to break his maiden before finishing sixth at the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. He won an allowance race last month in his 2015 debut, but asking One Lucky Dane to win here will require a little more than luck.

Prospect Park should be considered the biggest threat to Dortmund's dominance after finishing second to the favorite at the San Felipe, and he has had an interesting ride to get here. He needed three tries to break his maiden (including a second-place finish behind One Lucky Dane last October), then he won an allowance race in January before the San Felipe. This colt has a lot to offer and he's going to put up a fight, but will it be enough to get to the wire first on Saturday?

How It Will Play Out

This should be a close race for the first half or so, but Dortmund is just too strong, too fast and too good and he'll punch his ticket to Churchill Downs with a resounding win on Saturday.

Santa Anita Derby Betting Pick: Dortmund

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