The Santa Anita Derby is one of the oldest and most important prep races for the Kentucky Derby in the country. Through the new Kentucky Derby point system, the Grade 1 race offers 100 points to the winner and all but ensures that horse a spot in the starting gate in the Run for the Roses. Held annually in April at Santa Anita Park, the Santa Anita Derby is contested at a mile and an eighth and currently boasts a purse of $1 million.

The Santa Anita Derby was inaugurated in 1935 and seven horses have won both the Santa Anita Derby and the Kentucky Derby. 

Santa Anita Derby Picks

Betting on the Santa Anita Derby is safe, secure and simple through one of these recommended racebooks. Even if you cannot make it to Santa Anita in Arcadia, California, you don’t have to miss a minute of the excitement. With the race taking place in April 2021, we'll wait to see how things unfold this year and the ante-post to appear at online bookmakers before revealing our favourites to win it in 2022. 

The horse racing odds for the Santa Anita Derby were last updated on April 29, 2021: 

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    Santa Anita Derby Racing Tips

    The Santa Anita Derby has one of the most impressive histories of any Kentucky Derby prep race. While seven winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby, there have been several other horses who, while defeated in the Santa Anita Derby, came back to win the Run for the Roses.                   

    The stakes record of 1:47 for a mile and an eighth is shared by three horses – Lucky Debonair (1965), Sham (1973) and Indian Charlie (1998).

    Jockey Gary Stevens has ridden more winners of the Santa Anita Derby and has nine victories so far. Behind him in the standings is Bill Shoemaker with eight and Laffit Pincay, Jr. with seven. Stevens is still actively riding and could add more to that total. Trainer Bob Baffert has saddled an impressive seven winners so far in his career.

    One of Gary Stevens’s most impressive victories in the Santa Anita Derby came aboard the filly, Winning Colors in 1988. Trained by D. Wayne Lukas, the filly had won the Santa Anita Oaks three weeks before and was facing male rivals for the first time. Once she passed that challenge, she faced the boys in the Run for the Roses and became only the third filly to win the Kentucky Derby.

    In 2000, trainer Jenine Sahadi made history as the first female trainer to saddle a winner of the Santa Anita Derby when The Deputy gamely prevailed over the favorite, War Chant. Chris McCarron was in the irons for the winning ride.

    One of the most memorable installments of the Santa Anita Derby came in 1997 when two popular gray colts, Free House and Silver Charm, renewed their rivalry. Though the filly Sharp Cat went off as the favorite, all eyes were on Silver Charm and Free House when they hooked up at the top of the stretch. Free House won the battle and earned the victory by a head but it was Silver Charm who won the war – he came back to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes before falling short of the Triple Crown in the Belmont Stakes.

    In 2014, California Chrome launched himself into contention as a legitimate Kentucky Derby threat with a 5 ¼ length romp in the Santa Anita Derby. Up until that point, the California-bred had been met with some skepticism despite his strong record and he emphatically passed the class test. He went on to win the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes and as an older horse has won the Dubai World Cup and finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The popular chestnut has amassed over $14 million in earnings.

    Recent Santa Anita Results

    The 2020 edition of the Santa Anita Derby was run over a beautiful solid track under the gleaming California sun. Honor A. P., trained by J. Shirreffs and ridden by his M. Smith, had been knocking on the door in the California prep races and was looking like one of the favorites to clinch the Derby title before things got underway.

    Honor started out strongly, sticking with the pack for the vast majority of the race, putting on a great performance, as did second-placed finisher Authentic. But, as was suspected by many horse racing fans, Authentic is a distance-limited runner and didn't have enough in the tank to get over the line in first. 

    Honor A. P. went on to finish second in the Shared Belief Stakes and then benefited from another off-track to win finish 4th in Kentucky Derby. With two 1st place finishes, three 2nd place finishes and a 4th spot in Kentucky during 2020, it was an excellent year for the thoroughbred. 

    What happened in 2021?

    The return to California in 2021 was a great thing for many, after a long time locked up and unable to enjoy the glory of a race day event. This year saw Rock Your World take the 1st place spot, with a time of 1:49:17. 

    Rock Your World is rode by U. Rispoli and trained by J. Sadler. 2021 has been a great year for the thoroughbred so far, picking up three 1st placed finishes. Starting out with a win at the MSW, then the Pasadena Stakes and most recently the win in California. What else has this runner got in store for us in 2021?