2023 Santa Anita Derby Odds & Betting Predictions

The most fascinating race of the whole weekend is the G1 2023 Santa Anita Derby, which brings together G2 San Felipe 1-2-3 Practical Move, Geaux Rocket Ride and Skinner, along with ace juvenile National Treasure and Japanese wildcard Mandarin Hero, in a 100pt prep that is certain to have a huge impact on the Kentucky Derby landscape.


Santa Anita Derby

G1, $750,000, 1m 1f dirt, 3yo, 2.43pm PT

The Santa Anita Derby, the marquee event on a stakes-loaded Saturday card in LA, has always had a major influence on the Kentucky Derby and this year’s contest – with Road to the Kentucky Derby points available on a 100-40-30-20-10 shakedown – is again a key piece of the puzzle, with an exotic twist thrown in to spice things up.

The main focus must be on the reappearance of the first three home in the G2 San Felipe here over a mile-sixteenth last month, when Practical Move (8-5) beat Geaux Rocket Ride (3-1) by two and a half lengths, with Skinner (4-1) a length and a quarter back in third.

It was a typically impressive performance from Practical Move, who is fourth-favourite for the Kentucky Derby and already has sufficient points to nail down a place in the gate. He moved to the lead easily around the turn and came clear in the style of a horse who would be happy going longer, and given that it was his first start of 2023 he’s entitled to move up a notch or two. He sets a very high standard.

The speed may come from the inexperienced Geaux Rocket Ride, who was making just his second start and his stakes debut after winning a sprint maiden here in coast-to-coast fashion. He chased the pace until having no answer to the surge of Practical Move, but he’s almost guaranteed to improve and the lead may suit him better.

Skinner raced the other way around, out of shot until rallying hard through the stretch to claim the ‘show’ spot in the last strides. The extra yardage is a positive and he has evidently progressed nicely over the winter, as his juvenile form was nothing special. If he can stay closer to the speed then his late rush will be a potent threat.

But that’s not all. Practical Move’s barnmate National Treasure (3-1) is back after minor niggles kept him sidelined since his disappointing performance in the G3 Sham Stakes here over a mile in January, when he was 3-5 favourite but beaten a length into third by Reincarnate, whose recent exploits have given this form a healthier sheen. National Treasure was earlier third behind Forte in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, and he could very well gatecrash the San Felipe reunion party.

Japanese raider Mandarin Hero (8-1) is an unknown quantity in this company, even though he was unbeaten in four as a juvenile and runner-up on his reappearance when stepped up to a mile-eighth. All his starts have come at the same second-tier track and he has a great many disadvantages to overcome today – his form is nothing like as strong as that of his better-known compatriot Derma Sotogake.

The others are here just to fill out the gate, including G3 Sunland Park Derby second and fifth Low Expectations (30-1) and One In Vermillion (50-1), and I Don’t Get It (20-1), winner of a mile-sixteenth maiden here.

2023 Santa Anita Derby Odds & Betting Pick

This will be some race and the potentially top-class PRACTICAL MOVE, so strong last time when winning a G2 here against his main rivals today, can repeat the dose.

HorseJockeyOdds by Jazzsports
I Don’t Get ItMario Gutierrez+2000
DazzlemesilverKent J. Desormeaux+5000
Geaux Rocket RideFlavien Prat+300
One in VermillionHector Isaac Berrios+5000
Practical MoveRamon A. Vazquez+160
National TreasureJohn R. Velazquez+300
SkinnerKazushi Kimura+400
Mandarin Hero (JPN)Kazushi Kimura+800
Low ExpectationsUmberto Rispoli+3000

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