Gormley (outside) edges American Anthem in the Sham Stakes (gr. III) at Santa Anita – © Benoit Photo
By Ed Golden, Santa Anita Publicity
With a 7-2 morning line favorite in Iliad, it’s no secret that Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby is a wide-open betting race.
Private clocker Gary Young concurs, singling out two of the three second choices at 5-1 Reach the World and Battle of Midway as major contenders in the 1 1/8-mile race that attracted 13 entrants seeking a share of 170 qualifying points for the May 6 Kentucky Derby, 100 to the winner, 40 to the runner-up, 20 to the third horse and 10 to the fourth.
“Both Reach the World and Battle of Midway definitely are moving forward,” Young said. “American Anthem’s kind of a tough read. I know his race in the Rebel (10th by 13 ½ lengths on March 18) wasn’t good. It was an ordinary effort, but he might bounce back.
“Both he and Gormley are coming off really ordinary races (Gormley was fourth by nearly 10 lengths behind Mastery in the March 11 San Felipe). I know Gormley wound up being the meat in the sandwich, but he backed out of there rather quick.
“Iliad is very talented. He was obviously chasing what was going to be the (Kentucky) Derby winner in Mastery. Am I convinced Iliad wants to go a mile and an eighth? Not really.
“Irish Freedom started as rabbit in front of West Coast in a recent work and he opened up on him, so I think Bob (Baffert) is taking a shot putting him in the race.
“They would be the contenders, but based on the morning line, I think Reach the World and Battle of Midway at 5-1 could step up and run well in the race.”
NBCSN will air the Santa Anita Derby in a live telecast that includes coverage of the Wood Memorial and the Blue Grass Stakes, starting at 2:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time.
Approximate post time for the Santa Anita Derby is 4:12 p.m.
If you enjoyed this article, be sure to sign up for email newsletters and special offers from The Turf Board!