Brandon A. Quick |  Sat 07/04/2018 - 10:03 EDT

2018 Santa Anita Derby Predictions

2018 Santa Anita Derby Predictions
With just a field of 7 signed on to contest the Grade 1 Santa Anita Derby Saturday, April 7 (6:30 ET post), the race might be dismissed by some as a lackluster betting opportunity. That would be a mistake.

Big day, Big Bets

Let’s get down to brass tacks here. Bolt d’ Oro and Justify are two of the most intriguing Kentucky Derby hopefuls in the nation. While they will both be short prices, the Santa Anita Derby, carded as race 9, is a lynchpin to an all-stakes Pick 4 and Pick 5. I’m advising players to ignore the intra-race exotics here (exacta, tri, super) and focus on the bigger, more profitable multirace bets. 

Meet the Field

1-Instilled Regard 5/1

2-Orbit Rain 50/1

3-Bolt d’Oro 6/5

4-Jimmy Chila 30/1

5-Pepe Tono 20/1

6-Justify 4/5

7-Core Beliefs 20/1

Sorting Them Out

Aside from the big speed figures recorded by Justify and Bolt d’Oro here, the first handicapping variable that catches my eye is this: not a single horse in the field has tried the 1 1/8-mile distance on dirt. That’s not necessarily unusual for three year-old this time of year, but it’s an important variable that gets overlooked. Fortunately, the two main players are both well-bred for the longer trip and both have indicated they’ll handle the extra ground just fine. 

The lightly-raced Justify is 2 for 2, recording triple digit Beyer Speed Figures in each race. In short, this makes him one of the fastest – if not the fastest – three year-old Derby hopeful to emerge thus far. He’ll hook another Triple digit Beyer boy in Bold d’Oro while making his stakes debut. On paper, there is very little to separate these two runners, but Justify may have the higher ceiling. It’s a scary thought to think the Bob Baffert trainee could improve, but that may be the reality of the situation. He will be racing beyond a mile for the first time in his precocious career.  

Justify’s workouts on March 20 and March 26 were both excellent indicating he’s feeling on top of his game and that the impressive March 11 allowance win took little out of the tank. Bolt d’Oro, for his part, has also worked well since his Grade 2 San Felipe win March 10, but the Mick Ruis-trained colt was physically taxed to his limits in that race, earning the win via disqualification after a stretch-long duel with the well-regarded McKinzie, who has since dropped off the Kentucky Derby trail due to injury.

The Picks

Instilled Regard is a nice horse among the others running here, but he’s clearly a notch below the top two. The rest are several rungs below the top two. I’m anticipating a crowd-pleasing, hair-raising matchup here between Justify and Bolt, but I also won’t be surprised if Justify runs out of orbit and becomes the overwhelming favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Personally, I’ll key Justify in my pick 5 and be ready to feel stupid if the Bolt d’Oro wins and I hit the remainder of the bet. 

Category : Sports Betting News

Tag : Horse Racing

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