2024 Santa Anita Derby Contenders

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Santa Anita Park Press Release
Updated: April 03, 2024

Santa Anita Derby Awards 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby Qualifying Points

Since 1935, shortly after Santa Anita Park opened, the Santa Anita Derby (G1) has for almost nine decades served as the West Coast's premier G1 Kentucky Derby prep. Contested over 1 1/8 miles, it offers Road to the Kentucky Derby qualifying points of 100-50-25-15-10 to the top five finishers.


Stronghold and Imagination Will Battle for Kentucky Derby Points

Graded stakes winners Stronghold and Imagination are set to clash for the first time in a field of eight entered for 87th running of the Grade 1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles on Saturday, April 6.

Trained by Bob Baffert, Imagination exits a win in the GII San Felipe going 1 1/16 miles on March 3 at Santa Anita. The victory upped his record to 2-3-0 in five starts with $256,800 in earnings for owners SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, et al.

2024 Santa Anita Derby Field & Odds

Race 10 at Santa Anita on Saturday, April 6 - Post 7:30 PM

Entry Horse ML Odds Jockey Trainer
1 Curlin's Kaos 20-1 Diego Herrera
124 Lbs
Antonio Garcia
2 Tapalo 5-1 Umberto Rispoli
124 Lbs
John Sadler
3 Stronghold 5-2 Antonio Fresu
124 Lbs
Philip D'Amato
4 Imagination 8-5 Lanfranco Dettori
124 Lbs
Bob Baffert
5 Wynstock 8-1 Juan Hernandez
124 Lbs
Bob Baffert
6 Tessuto 10-1 Kazushi Kimura
124 Lbs
George Papaprodromou
7 Mc Vay 5-1 Hector Berrios
124 Lbs
John Shirreffs
8 E J Won the Cup 15-1 Mike Smith
124 Lbs
Doug O'Neill

By Into Mischief, Imagination was purchased for $1.05 million at the 2022 Keeneland September yearling sale. He broke his maiden in his third start when going a mile on Jan. 1 at Santa Anita. Prior scoring in the San Felipe, Imagination finished second by neck to well-regarded stablemate Maymun in a first-level allowance at a mile on Feb. 11 at Santa Anita.

International star jockey Frankie Dettori, who rode Imagination for the first time in the San Felipe win, again has the call on Saturday.

Stronghold is exiting a breakthrough victory in the GIII Sunland Derby in New Mexico on Feb. 18. Trained by Phil D'Amato, Stronghold attended the pace under Antonio Fresu and kicked clear late to score by 2 ½ lengths at Sunland Park. The Ghostzapper colt now looks to solidify a berth in next month's Kentucky Derby.

The Santa Anita Derby offers Kentucky Derby qualifying points to eligible horses who finish in the top five on a scale of 100-50-25-15-10. Stronghold currently has 25 points, which ranks 21st on the Derby leaderboard with still three additional prep races to be run over the next two weekends . The Kentucky Derby is limited to 20 starters.

Horse Racing Rebates

Prior to his win in the Sunland Derby, Stronghold finished second in both the GII Los Alamitos Futurity at 1 1/16 miles in December and the seven-furlong GIII Bob Hope at Del Mar in November.

Stronghold will again have Fresu in the irons Saturday. A homebred for Eric Waller and Sharon Waller, Stronghold has a record of 5: 2-3-0 with $337,200 in earnings.

Tapalo returns to dirt after a solid second-place effort in the 1 1/8-mile El Camino Real Derby on synthetic at Golden Gate Feb. 10. The Tapiture colt finished 1 ¼ lengths back of Endlessly, who would return to win the GIII Jeff Ruby Steaks on synthetic at Turfway Park.

Trained by John Sadler, Tapalo graduated just prior to the El Camino Real in a $40,000 maiden/optional claiming race going seven furlongs on dirt at Santa Anita Jan. 12. Tapalo, who was a $55,000 auction buy as a 2-year-old, was not entered for the optional claiming price. He has a record of 5: 1-2-1 with $62,020 in earnings for owner Hronis Racing.

Tapalo will be ridden by Umberto Rispoli for the first time.

Baffert's other entrant is graded stakes winner Wynstock. Campaigned by Ed Allred, owner of Los Alamitos, and longtime racing executive Jack Liebau, Wynstock won the Los Alamitos Futurity to close out his 2-year-old campaign. In his only start this year, the Solomini colt shipped to Oaklawn Park and finished last on a muddy track in the GIII Southwest Feb. 3.

Wynstock was purchased for $700,000 at auction as a 2-year-old. He has a record of 5: 2-0-0 with $182,740 in earnings. Santa Anita leading rider Juan Hernandez will be reunited with Wynstock on Saturday.

The only other stakes winner in the field is E J Won the Cup for trainer Doug O'Neill. After taking seven starts to break his maiden, the Omaha Beach colt came right back to win the Turf Paradise Derby March 14. He will be reunited Saturday with Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, who was aboard for the maiden win.

A $95,000 auction buy as a yearling, E J Won the Cup is owned by Superfecta King Stable, He is 2-3-1 in eight starts with $116,440 in earnings.

Pre-Draw News

IMAGINATION & MAYMUN LEAD 2024 SANTA ANITA DERBY NOMINATIONS

G2 San Felipe winner Imagination and unbeaten Maymun, both trained by Bob Baffert, are among 15 3-year-olds nominated to the G1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on Saturday, April 6.

Mar 29 - Owned by Zedan Racing Stables, Maymun would be making his stakes debut in the 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby. Most recently, the Frosted colt improved to 2-for-2 when edging Imagination by a neck in a first-level allowance going a mile here Feb. 11. Prior to that effort, Maymun aired by 7 ½ lengths in a 6 ½-furlong maiden heat here Jan. 20. Both wins came with Santa Anita leading rider Juan Hernandez in the irons.

Following his narrow loss to Maymun, Imagination made amends with a victory in the 1 1/16-mile San Felipe March 3. The Into Mischief colt won the San Felipe by a head over stablemate Wine Me Up, who is also nominated to the Santa Anita Derby for Baffert.

On Friday, Imagination worked five furlongs in 1:00.00. It was the fifth-fastest of 96 works at the distance.

Baffert's fourth nominee is Wynstock. The Solomini colt won the GII Los Alamitos Futurity in December but came back to finish last in the GIII Southwest on a muddy track Feb. 3 at Oaklawn Park. On Friday, Wynstock fired a bullet when working four furlongs from the gate in 46.00 seconds. It was the fastest of 113 works at the distance.

Looming a major threat to the potential Baffert quartet is Stronghold for trainer Phil D'Amato. Owned by Eric M. Waller and Sharon Waller, the Ghostzapper colt exits a win in the GIII Sunland Derby Feb. 18. Prior to that breakout victory, Stronghold ended last year with consecutive runner-up efforts in the Los Alamitos Futurity and GIII Bob Hope going seven furlongs at Del Mar.

Other notable nominees expected to run include Tapalo for trainer John Sadler and Tessuto for trainer George Papaprodromou.

Greyhound Betting

Tapalo, a ridgling by Tapiture for Hronis Racing, broke his maiden going seven furlongs on dirt here Jan. 12. He then came back to finish second in the El Camino Real Derby on synthetic at Golden Gate Feb. 10. The winner of the El Camino Real Derby, Endlessly, came back to win last weekend's GIII Jeff Ruby Stakes on synthetic at Turfway Park.

Tessuto exits a comfortable 2 ½ -length maiden win going a mile here Feb. 25. It was the first time racing around two turns. On Friday, the son of Munnings worked five furlongs in 1:00.20. He is owned by Kretz Racing. Trainer Doug O'Neill is considering running E.J. Won the Cup, who made it two straight wins when taking the 1 1/16-mile Turf Paradise Derby March 14. The Omaha Beach colt is campaigned by Superfecta King Stable.

There is also one potential out-of-state invader among the nominees, according to the Santa Anita racing office. Trainer Danny Gargan nominated New York-based Society Man, who exits a three-length maiden win going a mile on a muddy track at Aqueduct March 9. The Good Magic gelding tried the GIII Withers at 1 1/8 miles prior to his maiden win and finished eighth.

Entries for the 87th Santa Anita Derby will be taken on Wednesday. Qualifying points for the 150th Kentucky Derby on May 4 will be awarded to eligible horses who finish in the top five. Points are paid on a scale of 100-50-25-15-10.

2024 SANTA ANITA DERBY EARLY LOOK

Mar 24 - The 87th running of the G1, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby, a potential steppingstone to the 150th Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, will be part of a stakes-laden card at Santa Anita Park on April 6.

The 1 1/8-mile Santa Anita Derby will have supporting stakes that day which include the G2 Santa Anita Oaks, an official prep for the Kentucky Oaks May 3; the G3 Monrovia for older fillies and mares on the hillside turf course and a pair of stakes for California-bred or sired horses.

As the Santa Anita Derby approaches, the potential field is starting to take shape. Bob Baffert, who has won a record nine Santa Anita Derbies, is expected to have at least two starters and potentially three.

Baffert plans to run Zedan Racing's unbeaten colt Maymun. By Frosted, Maymun dominated in his 6 ½-furlong debut here when winning by 7 ½ lengths Jan. 20. He returned in a one-mile allowance Feb. 11 and edged stablemate Imagination by a neck to stay perfect. That effort was flattered when Imagination, who is also a candidate for the Santa Anita Derby, came back to win the GII San Felipe at 1 1/16 miles here March 3.

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Other potential starters for Baffert include Wine Me Up, Coach Prime and Wynstock. Wine Me Up was beaten just a head by Imagination in the San Felipe. The Vino Rosso colt is owned by Michael E. Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.

Coach Prime, also owned by Zedan Racing, has been working steadily but has not raced since finishing third in the GII Los Alamitos Futurity Dec. 16. Wynstock won the Los Alamitos Futurity but came back to finish last in the GIII Southwest Feb. 3 at Oaklawn Park. By Solomini, Wynstock is campaigned by Los Alamitos owner Ed Allred and executive Jack Liebau.

The likely main rival to Baffert'ys contingent is Stronghold for trainer Phil D'yAmato. By Ghostzapper, Stronghold exits a sharp 2 ½-length win in the GIII Sunland Derby Feb. 18. He earned 25 Kentucky Derby qualifying points for the victory, which puts him 16th on the leaderboard currently.

D'yAmato this week said there'ys a small possibility Stronghold could ship to Keeneland for the GI Blue Grass Stakes, also on April 6, but staying home was most likely.

"I think that win going two turns at Sunland, the light bulb came on," D'yAmato added of Stronghold, who is owned by Eric M. Waller and Sharon Waller. "Since then, he'ys acted more professionally in his drills. He worked sensational last Monday."

Trained John Sadler plans to run Tapalo, most recently second in the El Camino Real Derby on synthetic Feb. 10 at Golden Gate. The Tapiture ridgling is owned by Hronis Racing. Sadler added it was "unlikely" Scatfiy returns in the Santa Anita Derby after running himself into trouble and being eased across the wire in the San Felipe.

Trainer Doug O'yNeill said E.J. Won the Cup, who won the Turf Paradise Derby March 14 for owner Superfecta King Stable, is possible to go in the Santa Anita Derby.

"He'yd be a major longshot, but we'yre considering it," O'yNeill said Saturday of the Omaha Beach colt.

McVay, who was third in the San Felipe, is possible for trainer John Shirreffs. The Constitution colt has 19 Derby points and ranks 25th on the leaderboard for owner C R K Stable.

Also pointed to the Santa Anita Derby is recent maiden winner Tessuto for trainer George Papaprodromou. A ridgling by Munnings, graduated by 2 ½ lengths in a one-mile maiden heat here Feb. 25. He is owned by Kretz Racing.

The Santa Anita Derby offers eligible horses a total of 200 qualifying points towards the Kentucky Derby paid on a scale of 100-50-25-15-10 to the top-five finishers.

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