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2023 Santa Anita Derby Day Part 2

horse racing
John Velazquez aboard Offlee Naughty after winning the Charles Whittingham Stakes (G2)

Part 1 - Santa Anita Derby (G1), Santa Anita Oaks (G1), and Evening Jewel Stakes

Date: 04/08/2023

There were six stakes races run at Santa Anita on Saturday, highlighted by the Santa Anita Derby (G1). Conditions were excellent for the 31,289 fans in attendance at the historic Arcadia oval, with sunny skies and temperatures in the low 70's.

The last graded stakes on the card was the $200,000 Charles Whittingham Stakes (G2) presented by FanDuel TV featuring a field of 6 older horses going 1 1/4 miles on the turf out of the downhill chute. Breeders' Cup Turf (G1) 10th place finisher Gold Phoenix was sent off as the 8-5 favorite off his win in the Frank Kilroe Mile (G1). In to challenge him included 5-2 second choice Masteroffoxhounds, sixth in the Kilroe Mile after finishing second in the San Marcos (G3), and 9-2 third choice Dicey Mo Chara, sixth in the San Marcos after winning the San Gabriel (G2).
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Offlee Naughty leads in the stretch

Jockey Juan Hernandez sent Dicey Mo Chara to the lead first time by through fractions of 25.20, 50.63, 1:15.34, and 1:38.65 while pressed by 6-1 Opry and stalked by Masteroffoxhounds. Turning for home, 5-1 fourth choice Midnight Jostar, 4th early, slipped and fell unseating jockey Kent Desormeaux but was caught by the outrider and walked off. Dicey Mo Chara led to the 1/8 pole but 11-1 longest shot Offlee Naughty, last early under John Velazquez, found room between horses in the stretch to win by a length in 2:02.45. It was another 3/4 length back from Dicey Mo Chara to Opry third, and 3/4 moire to late-running favorite Gold Phoenix fourth.
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Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place  Show
 4   Offlee Naughty     Velazquez    25.20    9.00  4.80
 2   Dicey Mo Chara     Hernandez             6.40  4.00
 1   Opry               Dettori                     4.00

Winning Time:  2:02.45

$1 Exacta 4-2                65.10
$1 Trifecta 4-2-1           306.90
$1 Superfecta 4-2-1-7       967.70
Results Chart

horse racinghorse racing
Left: Offlee Naughty in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Mike McCarthy said, "The fractions were pretty slow early. Johnny made a move at the 4 1/2 (furlong pole) to get him in the game and make contact with the pack. He kind of stuck there. I'm not exactly sure what happened at the top of the lane. We were kind of uncorking a run and things got bottled up there for a second. Inside the 1/8 pole this horse found another gear."

Right: Offlee Naughty in the paddock. Winning jockey John Velazquez said, "He is showing a lot of talent but still kind of learning. Last couple of races he put it together what he needs to do. He broke a little slow so I waited until the backstretch to let everybody go, and finally picked it up at the three-eighths pole and went back to the inside. At the quarter pole down the stretch, he came running for me. I was able to avoid (Midnight Jostar, who fell). He came out and I think he just stumbled. I pulled my horse outside and he responded right away."

horse racinghorse racing Left: Second place finisher Dicey Mo Chara in the paddock before the race. Jockey Juan Hernandez said, "This horse loves the distance and the plan was to stay behind the speed, but then Dicey Mo Chara broke sharp and I decided to let him go. He was traveling well and had a nice pace, but the other horse got me outside. The winner was in the middle of the track and Dicey Mo Chara saw him too late. No excuses today, we'll get them next time! "

Right: Third place finisher Opry returns after the race. Jockey Frankie Dettori said, "My horse ran well. They were just going too slow for my horse."

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Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Gold Phoenix in the paddock before the race. The Phil D'Amato trainee has a record of 4 wins, 3 seconds, and 3 thirds in 12 starts, earning $687,257 for owners Little Red Feather Racing, Sterling Stables, and Marsha Naify.

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The $200,000 Monrovia Stakes (G3) for older fillies and mares is carded at 6 1/2 furlongs on the downhill turf course but was taken off the turf and run over the main track. After 4 scratches, Beholder Mile (G1) sixth place finisher Awake at Midnyte was sent off as the 6-5 favorite in the field of 7 over 4-1 second choice Big Summer, second in the Wishing Well Stakes, and 13-2 third choice Leggs Galore, second in the California Distaff Handicap.

Leggs Galore was quickest away through an opening quarter in 21.96 before 15-2 fourth choice Elm Drive took over through a half in 44.42. Turning for home Elm Drive continued to lead under Ramon Vazquez through 3/4 in 1:08.97, and held off late-running Big Summer to win by 3/4 length in 1:15.56. It was a neck back to 8-1 Kirstenbosch third, and another length back to favorite Awake at Midnyte fourth.

Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Elm Drive in the winner's circle. Gary Fenton of ownership group Little Red Feather Racing added, "She is primarily a dirt horse, so of all of the decisions of all the owners here had to make, I think ours was the easiest. The way of being on the inside and having the speed that she does, and seeing the speed from the outside, really put us in a predicament. We told Ramon to play the break and I'm unsure it was the best circumstance for her, but then she came up right along the rail and the other horses were coming at her, and that's where her heart came in."

Right: Elm Drive heads back to the barn after the race. Winning jockey Ramon Vazquez said, "Thank you to the owners and the trainer for the opportunity. I was just comfortable because I got a perfect trip. I was just waiting for the moment to ask her and when I asked her she responded really well. Winning trainer Phil D'Amato said, "She's a graded stakes winner on the dirt so that definitely didn't hurt. The filly was just fresh and ready to go. We missed a spot a couple of weeks ago but this is a better spot now.

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher Big Summer in the post parade. The Carla Gaines trainee improved her record to 4 wins, 7 seconds, and 2 thirds in 13 starts, earning $355,160 for owner-breeders Robert Abrams, Mitchell Dutko and Michael Paran,

Right: Third place finisher Kirstenbosch in the paddock. The John Sadler trainee improved her record to 3 wins, 3 seconds, and 2 thirds in 12 starts, earning $368,480 for owner-breeder Keith Abrahams.

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Fourth place finisher and beaten favorite Awake at Midnyte in the paddock before the race. The Doug O'Neill trainee has a recod of 2 wins, 5 seconds, and 1 third in 13 starts, earning $382,175 for owner Reddam Racing.

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The $150,000 Echo Eddie Stakes featured a field of 7 California bred or sired 3-year-olds also sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track. Kangaroo Court was sent off as the 1-2 favorite over 7-2 second choice Bus Buzz and 15-2 third choice Left Hand Man.

Jockey Edwin Maldonado sent Bus Buzz to the lead out of the chute through fractions of 21.31 and 43.83 while pressed by Kangaroo Court and stalked by 16-1 Clovisconnection. Turning for home Bus Buzz continued to lead through 3/4 in 1:08.80 but Kangaroo Court closed late to win by a head in 1:15.66. It was a long 6 1/4 lengths back to 11-1 Clouseau third. There was a stewards' inquiry into the stretch run as Kangaroo Court and Bus Buzz bumped three times; the stewards ruled that Bus Buzz initiated the contact and finished second so no change would be made.

Results Chart

horse racingKangaroo Court in the winner's circle. Winning owner George Sharp said, "What a horse! They told me at the training center when we were breaking him that of the $1.9 million in yearlings I got he was the best one. I didn't believe him because the horse was $7,500, turns out he was right. There's not enough you can say about Tim's job on the horse. I'm incredibly proud of him That horse is the reason I'm in horse racing. He's going to be at Churchill on Derby Day, in the Pat Day Mile, so it might be a while until he's back here but I'm incredibly proud of him." Winning jockey Flavien Prat added, "It was a gutsy run, I thought we got bumped twice down the lane. The horse from the inside he shifted out and bumped us twice, so I'm really proud of his effort to stay focused and get the win."

On to Part 1 - Santa Anita Derby (G1), Santa Anita Oaks (G1) and Evening Jewel Stakes

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