Horse Racing

2024 Santa Anita Derby Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

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2024 Santa Anita Derby Betting Odds and Contenders Preview

The 2024 Santa Anita Derby (G1) happens on Saturday, April 8 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California! It is one of the most important stops on the Kentucky Derby trail featuring a $750,000 purse and 100-50-25-15-10 Kentucky Derby points to the top five qualifying finishers.

The race drew eight participants, with six of the eight runners eligible for Kentucky Derby points. (Imagination and Wynstock are in the barn of trainer Bob Baffert, and thus ineligible for the Run for the Roses.) A qualifying winner would guarantee a trip to Churchill Downs, the second-place points would likely be enough, and even third- through fifth-place points could help a horse who ran well in other preps into the starting gate.

The Santa Anita Derby is one of the most important races on the Kentucky Derby trail. Ten of its winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, including two Triple Crown winners, Justify (2018) and Affirmed (1978). Other recent winners to win this race and the blanket of roses include locally bred hero California Chrome (2014) as well as I’ll Have Another (2012).

Santa Anita Derby 2024 Information

  • Race Date: Saturday, April 6, 2024
  • Track: Santa Anita Park
  • Post Time: 4:30 p.m. Pacific Standard Time
  • Distance: 1 1/8 miles
  • Age/Sex: three-year-olds
  • Where to Watch: FanDuel TV
  • Where to Bet: and FanDuel Racing

Santa Anita Derby Odds

This is the official field for the 2024 Santa Anita Derby, including post positions, trainers, jockeys, and morning lines for each runner.

ML Odds
1Curlin’s KaosAntonio GarciaDiego Herrera20-1
2TapaloJohn SadlerUmberto Rispoli5-1
3StrongholdPhil D’AmatoAntonio Fresu5-2
4ImaginationBob BaffertFrankie Dettori8-5
5WynstockBob BaffertJuan Hernandez8-1
6TessutoGeorge PapaprodromouKazushi Kimura10-1
7Mc VayJohn ShirreffsHector Berrios5-1
View Full Table

Keep in mind that Imagination and Wynstock are in the barn of trainer Bob Baffert, and, therefore, ineligible for the Kentucky Derby. However, participants from his barn remain eligible for other major three-year-old races like the Preakness Stakes, Belmont Stakes, Travers Stakes, and Breeders’ Cup races, meaning they are likely as well-intended as the Kentucky Derby-eligible horses.

Santa Anita Derby Prep Results

The eight horses in the Santa Anita Derby come out of six different races. Five come out of Kentucky Derby points races. Imagination was last seen winning the San Felipe (G2), the local prep for this race; third-place finisher Mc Vay also returns to the fray. Stronghold comes out of a score in the Sunland Park Derby (G3) and will face fourth-place Curlin’s Kaos again. Wynstock comes out of an 11th-place finish in a muddy Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn.

Two others come out of stakes races that did not offer points for the Kentucky Derby. Tapalo was second to next-out Jeff Ruby (G3) winner Endlessly in the El Camino Real Derby, a Preakness qualifier that no longer offers Kentucky Derby points. E J Won the Cup steps up in class off of a win in the Turf Paradise Derby.

The only horse coming out of a non-stakes event is Tessuto. He was last seen winning a maiden special weight dirt mile at Santa Anita on February 25.

Santa Anita Derby Contenders

These are the contenders in the 2024 Santa Anita Derby, organized by post position:

Curlin’s Kaos: It took him four tries to graduate against California-breds, and that win came in a turf mile. Back on dirt, he finished a well-beaten fourth behind Stronghold in the Sunland Park Derby. He has yet to run a race that makes him competitive with the top of this field, and he may make a bit more sense in a California-bred turf race.

Tapalo: He is the only horse in the field who has run 1 ⅛ miles before, and the only horse who beat him has already come back to win impressively. Even though that race was on a synthetic surface, Tapalo broke his maiden on the Santa Anita dirt. He is getting good at the right time, he has the tactical speed to get a good trip on a big day at Santa Anita, and he should offer good value in the win pool.

Stronghold: He beat lesser foes in the Sunland Park Derby last out, though he has already hit the board twice in stakes races in Southern California. He likely finds a horse or two too good again this time, and the Jimmy Creed on the bottom raises serious questions about 1 ⅛ miles, but he has yet to run a bad race, and that consistency could get him another piece of the exotics.

Imagination: Trained by Bob Baffert, he is the likely favorite. He beat a short and perhaps substandard field in the San Felipe on March 3, but may have made a better display of his quality two back in an allowance when he defeated well-regarded stablemate Maymun, who would have been favored had Baffert opted to let him join this group. With tactical speed as well as the ability to battle when challenged up front, he should be a formidable foe.

Wynstock: The “B”-string horse from trainer Bob Baffert, Wynstock needs to rebound from a dreadful 11th-place finish in the Southwest at Oaklawn. However, that happened on a muddy track, and here he returns to his proven game: two turns on fast California dirt. He could be the speed of the speed, and showed enough grit when winning the Los Alamitos Futurity (G2) to suggest he could fight on for a piece.

Tessuto: The only runner without stakes experience, he graduated at Santa Anita in his third lifetime start, his first try at two turns. He adds a furlong for this, a distance for which his pedigree leaves questions. It’s a positive that he has shown tactical speed, and he appears to be on the improve, but the distance, class questions, and tendency to break slowly raise serious questions.

Mc Vay: A four-start maiden, he has earned a few Kentucky Derby points in each of his last two starts. Most recently he was third in the San Felipe, well beaten by Imagination. There is enough speed in this race that there is an outside shot of a pace collapse, something that would benefit Mc Vay. However, he still needs to improve enough that he would be a surprise in this field.

E J Won the Cup: He kept finding horses too good in the straight maiden ranks, and didn’t figure it out until dropped down into restricted maiden company. He has gotten a confidence boost between that and a minor stakes win at Turf Paradise. However, He still needs a major step forward from any of his races, and he is going to have more and better speed to contend with up front.

Santa Anita Derby Past Winners Past Performances

In the last ten years, all ten of the winners of the Santa Anita Derby made their last start at Santa Anita. Among those, six of them last raced in the San Felipe (G2), though only two of the last five winners came out of that race: Practical Move (2023) won it, and Honor A. P. (2020) was second in the San Felipe before winning the Santa Anita Derby. Looking a bit further back, California Chrome (2014) and Dortmund (2015) came in off of San Felipe wins, Exaggerator (2016) was third, and Gormley (2017) was fourth.

Rock Your World (2021) won the Pasadena, a listed race on the lawn. Justify (2018) and Roadster (2019) came out of allowance wins; Justify made his stakes debut in the Santa Anita Derby while Roadster was a Grade 1-placed juvenile. Taiba (2022) came out of a debut maiden win.

Santa Anita Derby Undercard

The Santa Anita Derby is the tenth race out of twelve on Saturday at Santa Anita, with five of the races on the card being stakes races. In addition to the Santa Anita Derby, the card also features the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks (G2), a 100-point prep race for the Kentucky Oaks.

Other major races on the card include the $100,000 Monrovia (G3) for fillies and mares sprinting on the downhill turf course, and a pair of $125,000 stakes races for older California-bred dirt sprinters. With classy fields and excitement all day long, make plans to watch on FanDuel TV, and to play the card through FanDuel and TVG!

Santa Anita Park

Santa Anita Park began as a part of Rancho Santa Anita. After a series of owners, it was acquired by horse breeder Lucky Baldwin, who built the original Santa Anita Park in 1904. That facility closed in 1909 after a California law banning racetrack gambling, and it burned down in 1912. Horse racing became legal again in California in 1933, after which the Los Angeles Turf Club was formed. They built a new track, the present Santa Anita, which opened on Christmas Day in 1934. Signature Grade 1 races include the Santa Anita Derby, Santa Anita Handicap (known as the Big ‘Cap), and the new California Crown in the fall.

Santa Anita's main track is a one-mile dirt oval. The turf track inside of it is a 0.9-mile grass oval. A unique feature of that Santa Anita turf track is the downhill course, which juts out to the northwest over the far turn, crosses over the dirt, and then joins the turf oval. Santa Anita runs 6 1/2-furlong turf sprints over that course, and also uses it as a start for some of its longer turf routes. The track offers free admission and parking for Friday afternoon racing.

Santa Anita Derby FAQ

Q: When is the Santa Anita Derby?

A: The 2024 Santa Anita Derby happens Saturday, April 6, at 4:30 p.m. Pacific Daylight Time. It is carded as the tenth race of 12 on the card.

Q: Where is the Santa Anita Derby?

A: It takes place at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.

Q: Which trainer has the most wins in the Santa Anita Derby?

A: Trainer Bob Baffert leads all trainers with nine wins in the Santa Anita Derby, most recently in 2019 with Roadster. He enters both Imagination and Wynstock in the 2024 edition.

Q: Who is the favorite for the 2024 Santa Anita Derby?

A: Imagination, winner of the San Felipe, is the 8-5 morning-line favorite for the Santa Anita Derby. Between his victory in that race and his close second to stablemate Maymun in an allowance two starts back, he should be the post-time favorite as well.

Q: Who is the best Santa Anita Derby jockey?

A: Gary Stevens won the Santa Anita Derby nine times between 1988 and 2003. Among jockeys entered in the 2024 edition of the race, Mike Smith leads with five victories, most recently in 2022 with Taiba. He rides long shot E J Won the Cup in 2024 for Doug O’Neill.

Q: Who won the 2023 Santa Anita Derby?

A: Practical Move won the 2023 Santa Anita Derby for trainer Tim Yakteen and jockey Ramon Vazquez. Neither returns for the 2024 running.

This year’s Kentucky Derby Prep Races have already been filled with excitement and anticipation as horses compete for a coveted spot in the 150th Kentucky Derby. Now, FanDuel customers can join the action with this No Sweat Bet Up to $10! See the promotions page for more information.

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