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2024 Santa Anita Derby Day Part 1

horse racing
Antonio Fresu celebrates aboard Stronghold after winning the Santa Anita Derby

Part 2 - Monrovia (G2) and Echo Eddie Stakes

Date: 04/06/2024

The major California prep race for the Triple Crown is the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1) for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles over the Santa Anita main track just 4 weeks before the Run for the Roses, and worth 100 points to the winner as part of the Kentucky Derby Championship Series. Conditions were excellent for the 32,089 fans in attendance at the historic Arcadia oval, with sunny skies and temperatures in the high 60's. A field of 8 went to post with Imagination sent off as the even-money favorite off his win in the San Felipe Stakes (G2). In to challenge him included 2-1 second choice Stronghold, winner of the Sunland Derby (G3) after finishing second in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2), and 7-1 third choice Wynstock, winner of the Los Alamitos Futurity before finishing last of 11 in the Southwest Stakes (G3).
horse racing
Stronghold leads in the stretch

Jockey Umberto Rispoli sent 10-1 Tapalo to the lead first time by through fractions of 22.72, 46.73, and 1:10.90 while pressed by Imagination and stalked by 23-1 E J Won the Cup. Into the stretch Tapalo tired allowing Imagination to briefly lead but Stronghold, 4th early under Antonio Fresu, came through between horses to gain the lead through 1 mile in 1:36.88. Kept to task by Fresu, Stronghold held off Imagination late to win by a neck in 1:49.98. It was another 3 1/4 lengths back to E J Won the Cup third.
horse racing

Pgm  Horse              Jockey         Win   Place  Show
 3   Stronghold         Fresu         6.40    3.00  2.40
 4   Imagination        Dettori               2.80  2.20
 8   E J Won the Cup    Smith                       4.60

Winning Time:  1:49.98

$1 Exacta 3-4                 6.30
$1 Trifecta 3-4-8            60.60
$1 Superfecta 3-4-8-1       396.30
Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Stronghold in the winner's circle. Winning owner Rick Waller said, "I was watching the fractional times of the race, and I knew they were going pretty fast up front and I knew we were sitting back stalking. So I felt pretty good that those horses might want to come back, although that 4 horse (Imagination) was very strong and continued on. Stronghold likes a target. We used that horse as the target and went by him when it counted." Trainer Phil D'Amato added, "I was hoping we'd get that track and trip. It was a nice little speed battle back there, and he handled it well. He didn't really get the easiest trip coming around the turn, but luckily, he was able to squeeze through a small hole there and prove that he can be the best when it comes down to the wire. I think this was a great education for him, and a nice test that he's going to need to win a race like the Kentucky Derby.

Right: Stronghold in the post parade. Winning jockey Antonio Fresu said, "It is my first Grade 1 in America and it is all thanks to these great people that gave me the opportunity to ride this fantastic horse. He proved to be a good horse last time. I loved the way Phil D'Amato was training him the last couple of works. The horse was getting so much confidence and he was getting so much better than before. Today he proved to be a very good horse. Still, when he hit the front, he didn't want to stay alone, he was waiting for some company. I love this horse from the first time I sat on him. I saw all the time I breezed him and been riding him with every race I see his improvement. To be honest, I was very confident that he could do it. And he did it. Fair play to this horse he is just amazing."

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Imagination in the paddock. The Bob Baffert trainee improved his record to 2 wins and 4 seconds in 6 starts, earning $406,800 for owners SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, Stonestreet Stables, Dianne Bashor, Robert Masterson, Waves Edge Capital, Catherine Donovan, and Tom Ryan.

Right: Third place finisher E J Won the Cup in the paddock. The Doug O'Neill trainee improved his record to 2 wins, 3 seconds, and 2 thirds in 9 starts, earning $206,440 for owner Superfecta King Stable.

horse racing
The $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G2) featured five 3-year-old fillies going 1 1/16 miles with the winner earning 100 points as part of the Kentucky Oaks Championship Series. undefeated Kinza was sent off as the 1-2 favorite off wins in the Las Virgenes (G3) and Santa Ysabel (G3) Stakes. In to challenge her included 2-1 second choice Kopion, winner of the Santa Ynez (G3) before finishing second in the Las Virgenes, and 7-1 third choice Nothing Like You, 4th in the Las Virgenes after winning the Starlet (G2).

Jockey Juan Hernandez sent Kinza to the front first time by through fractions of 23.42, 46.88, and 1:10.72 while pressed by Kopion and stalked by Nothing Like You. Into the stretch, jockey Frankie Dettori sent Nothing Like You to the lead through 1 mile in 1L:36.64. Kept to task by Dettori, Nothing Like You drew off the rest of the way to win by 7 1/2 lengths in 1:43.21. It was another 1/2 length back to 12-1 Corposo third.

Results Chart

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Nothing Like You in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Bob Baffert said, "Without the horse, the jockey doesn't matter, but Dettori kept this filly as clean as possible. I was disappointed in Nothing Like You the last time out because she just didn't bring it. Nothing Like You was just sitting behind there. Unfortunately, when you use Dettori, you can't blame it on the jockey. He's just a phenom. He is world-class and has brought his talent to every stage. He's just that good, but you have to give him the horse. And he had the horse to do it."

Right: Nothing Like You returns after the race. Winning jockey Frankie Dettori said, "Last time the filly didn't like the kick back too much. We were lucky enough to have a decent break and got in a good position, where I wasn't getting any of the kick back. I was fully loaded at the quarter pole. I just needed a little bit of room and she took off. What can you say about Baffert? He's a genius. We have a good working relationship. He trains them and I ride them." Dettori won an impressive 6 straight races (races 2 thru 7) including the Oaks (race 6) and the Evening Jewel (race 4, below).

horse racinghorse racingLeft: Second place finisher and beaten favorite Kinza in the paddock before the race. Trainer Bob Baffert said, "Today, my other filly, Kinza, got really worked up going into the gates. They were pressuring her, and I knew that was going to happen. She just got tired."

Right: Third place finisher Corposo in the post parade. The Peter Eurton trainee improved her record to 1 win, 0 seconds, and 1 third in 3 starts, earning $78,900 for owners Madaket Stables and Slam Dunk Racing.

horse racing
Kicking off the Saturday stakes quintet was the $125,000 Evening Jewel Stakes featuring a field of 6 California bred or sired 3-year-old fillies sprinting 6 1/2 furlongs on the main track. Golden State Juvenile Fillies third place finisher Mirinda was sent off as the 6-5 favorite over 2-1 second choice Safa, second last out in allowance company, and 4-1 third choice Grease Missle, winner of the ATBA Three Year Old Sales Stakes at Turf Paradise.

Jockey Frankie Dettori sent 19-2 fourth choice Roberta's Love to the front out of the chute through fractions of 21.91 and 44.67 while pressed by 16-1 Clubhouse Bride and stalked by Mirinda and Safa. Into the stretch Roberta's Love continued to lead through 3/4 in 1:10.24, and held off Safa late to win by 3/4 length in 1:26.83. It was another 1 3/4 lengths back to Clubhouse Bride third, while favorite Mirinda faded to 5th beaten 6 3/4 lengths.

Results Chart

horse racing Roberta's Love in the winner's circle. Winning jockey Frankie Dettori said, "I was surprised, she jumped like a rocket and within 50 yards we were clear of the field and at the rail. I thought if no body hassled with me, I'd be very hard to catch and that was the case. We went right up to the line. "I tried to just save as much ground as I could, the filly she is ultra consistent and very well prepared. There were some good fillies in the race, but she put up a good performance." Trainer Hector Palma added, "Everyone was surprised to see her in front. Last time she was in second, but she got a good kick this time. I really think this filly is going to go the distance. They are going at an easy pace, and she's very smart. She's been a great filly since the beginning."

On to Part 2 - Monrovia (G3) and Echo Eddie Stakes

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