(Game Winner training for the Rebel Stakes in his last start / Photo Courtesy of Oaklawn Park)

From the Santa Anita Media Team:

A winner of a record eight Santa Anita Derbies, including last year’s running with eventual Triple Crown Champion and Horse of the Year Justify, Bob Baffert again appears to be on racing’s pole position as he sends out likely favorite Game Winner and top contender Roadster among a field of six sophomores in this Saturday’s Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby at a mile and one eighth.

Jerry Hollendorfer’s Instagrand and John Sadler’s Nolo Contesto each merit considerable respect as well and they’ll all be vying for a total of 170 all-important Kentucky Derby qualifying points, with 100 to the winner, 40 to second, 20 to third and 10 points to the fourth place finisher.

To be run for the 82nd time, the Santa Anita Derby, which was originally run in 1935, has produced 17 Kentucky Derby winners and two Triple Crown winners (Justify and Affirmed in 1978), has also served as a steppingstone to the winners of 43 overall Triple Crown races.


Owner:  Gary and Mary West
Trainer:  Bob Baffert

An undefeated winner of last November’s Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, he ran what by all accounts was a tremendous race as the 1-2 favorite in a division of the Grade II Rebel Stakes March 16 at Oaklawn Park on March 16, as he came up a nose short to top Derby prospect Omaha Beach at 1 1/16 miles.  The nation’s reigning Eclipse Award winning 2-year-old from last year, Game Winner, who is by Candy Ride, out of the A.P. Indy mare Indyan Giving, was brilliant in his only Santa Anita start, a 4 ½ length score three starts back in the Grade I American Pharoah Stakes on Sept. 29.  A winner of four out of his five starts, he has earnings of $1,646,000.


Owner:  OXO Equine, LLC
Trainer:  Jerry Hollendorfer

A winner of his first two starts, both sprints, by a combined 20 ¼ lengths, this Kentucky-bred colt flattened out late to finish third, beaten 1 ½ lengths as the even money favorite in the Grade III, one turn mile Gotham Stakes at Aqueduct March 9–his first start in seven months.  Currently based at Los Alamitos, Instagrand worked a bullet five furlongs in 59.40 on March 30, best of 17 moves at the distance.  Favored in all three of his starts, he’ll be reunited with Drayden Van Dyke, who was up for both of his wins on June 29 at Los Alamitos, and in the Grade II, six furlong Best Pal Stakes at Del Mar Aug. 11.


Owner:  Speedway Stable, LLC
Trainer:  Bob Baffert

A sharp 4 ¼ length first-out maiden winner going six furlongs on July 29 at Del Mar, this Quality Road colt was then third, beaten two lengths, by Game Winner in the Grade I, seven furlong Del Mar Futurity Sept. 3.  Off as the 3-5 favorite in the Futurity, he was unraced prior to an impressive 2 ½ length allowance win going one mile here on March 1 and appears to be a colt with a very bright future.  Out of the Silver Ghost mare Ghost Dancing, Roadster, who drilled six furlongs in a bullet 1:12.60 on March 31, will be ridden for the fourth consecutive time by Mike Smith.


Owner:  Hronis Racing, LLC
Trainer:  John Sadler

A half length one mile maiden winner two starts back on Jan. 4, this Pioneerof the Nile colt was second, beaten 2 ½ lengths by Roadster as the 3-5 favorite in a one mile first condition allowance on March 1 and will be making his first stakes appearance in what will be his fourth career start.  Ridden by Joel Rosario in his first three outs, Joe Talamo has the call on Saturday.


Race 8 of 11  Approximate post time 3:30 p.m. PT

  1. Roadster–Mike Smith–124
  2. More Ice–Geovanni Franco–124
  3. Nolo Contesto–Joe Talamo–124
  4. Synthesis–Rafael Bejarano–124
  5. Instagrand–Flavien Prat–124
  6. Game Winner–Joel Rosario–124

Special early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon.  Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.