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The major California prep race for the Triple Crown is the $400,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles over the Santa Anita main track worth 100 points to the winner as part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. California racing is being conducted behind closed doors, with no spectators and very limited media allowed to attend, but conditions were excellent otherwise, with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 70's. Authentic, undefeated winner of the Sham (G3) and San Felipe (G3) was sent off as the 1-2 favorite in the field of 7 over 2-1 Honor A. P., 2nd in the San Felipe, and 12-1 Rushie, an allowance winner last out.
Honor AP winning the Santa Anita Derby
Jockey Abel Cedillo sent 20-1 Shooters Shoot to the lead first time by through fractions of 23.07, 46.88, and 1:10.97 while pressed by Authentic and stalked by 16-1 Anneau d'Or. Entering the lane, Honor A. P., 5th early under Mike Smith, came out 4 wide for room and took over the lead through 1 mile in 1:36.10. Drifting in late, Honor A. P. drew off to win by 2 3/4 lengths over Authentic in 1:48.97. It was another 1 1/4 lengths back to Rushie third.
Winning trainer John Shirreffs said, "It's up to him whether we run him again before the big dance. We have to see how the horse comes out and how he feels, but you'd always prefer to run. Running is probably the best option rather than training up to it, but we'll wait and see how it all happens." Jockey Mike Smith added, "It seems the further you go with him the better, he's just got that big long, beautiful, powerful stride. He gives every indication that he can go 1 1/4, just the way he galloped out today. I mean I had to pull him up. He just keeps going with that big stride, it's almost as if horses have to take two (strides) to his one."
Swiss Skydiver winning the Santa Anita Oaks
Winning trainer Ken McPeek said, "I was reluctant to bring her We thought maybe we ought to wait for the Ashland with a short field and everything. She's easy to be around, she loves to run. They asked me to bring her vet records, I said 'There aren't any!' They went 22 and change speed early, which kind of surprised me, but she's got it in her. She's getting better too, I think." Jockey Mike Smith added, "When a horse puts their ears forward like that, that means there usually is something left in the tank. They are kind of taking a breather, looking at things. When I tightened the reins up she really accelerated I kept busy until about the eighth pole and really, she was on cruise control after that. She's an extremely talented filly."
Improbable winning the Hollywood Gold Cup
Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "Everyone thought this horse was a turf horse and I thought he needed the dirt. This horse is only going to get better." Jockey Drayden Van Dyke added, "It's Awesome, walking back it's just kind of getting it into my head, I just won the Hollywood Gold Cup, there's so much history in that race. To be a part of it, I'm blessed. He's matured, he still has his antics in the gate a little bit. When he travels he seems to have more troubles at the gate, today he did everything perfect."
Hariboux winning the Cinema Stakes
Winning trainer Jeff Mullins said, "(Jockey Umberto Rispoli) took it upon himself to get up and get position. I hadn't given him any instructions. Normally you're cussing when they make a move like that, but it worked out."
Grinning Tiger winning the Crystal Water Stakes
Winning trainer Anthony Saavedra said, ""I really did think we could get it done. He shuts off so easy, he's not a runoff. He will just bow that head and do whatever we want him to do. We were dying to try the two turns. I've entered this horse five times, but nothing filled. We were going to scratch him at the last minute but we all came together and said he needs to run." Jockey Heriberto Figueroa added, "I tried to let him relax, he's very hyper. You have to keep it quiet and talk to him really nice and easy. He relaxed pretty good today."
She's So Special winning the Desert Code Stakes
Super Patriot winning the Fran's Valentine Stakes
Winning trainer and co-owner Richard Baltas said, "She's not easy to deal with, but she is special. She's got a great turn of foot. They were walking, but she was off the bridle and looked very comfortable. All I told Flavien was ‘Don't get her stopped.' She was inside, then he took her outside. He's Flavien Prat!"
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