Santa Anita Derby: Forbidden Kingdom Fast Enough to Lead Every Step

Santa Anita Derby: Forbidden Kingdom Fast Enough to Lead Every Step

The top Kentucky Derby prospects on the West Coast meet Saturday, April 9 for the Santa Anita Derby (G1)! The nine-furlong horse race on the Santa Anita dirt offers a rich purse of $750,000, as well as 100-40-20-10 Road to the Kentucky Derby points for the top four finishers. The first two across the wire are virtually guaranteed Kentucky Derby spots, and even the third and fourth may amass enough points to go.

This has been a historically important Kentucky Derby prep, as ten horses have gone on from Santa Anita Derby glory to the blanket of roses at Churchill Downs. That includes a pair of Triple Crown winners, Justify (2018) and Affirmed (1978). Other recent horses to have swept that double include California Chrome (2014) and I’ll Have Another (2012).

This year, the two best West Coast prospects for the Kentucky Derby, Forbidden Kingdom, and Messier, will clash at Santa Anita. Will one of them take the crown, or will a new star arise? Keep reading to find out.

Santa Anita Derby Field

This is the official field for the 2022 Santa Anita Derby, including draw numbers, trainers, jockeys, and morning lines:

  1. Happy Jack (Doug O’Neill/Abel Cedillo) - 20/1

  2. Armagnac (Tim Yakteen/Drayden Van Dyke) - 20/1

  3. Forbidden Kingdom (Richard Mandella/Juan Hernandez) - 6/5

  4. Messier (Tim Yakteen/John Velazquez) - 1/1

  5. Win the Day (Doug O’Neill/Umberto Rispoli) - 20/1

  6. Taiba (Tim Yakteen/Mike Smith) - 4/1

The Santa Anita Derby is one of the most important races of the Derby prep season, and all of the best online sportsbooks will offer wagering on it. You can ensure the best and most profitable experience by betting the race online. After all, unlike the racetrack, these sites offer fixed odds wagering, meaning you can lock in the best odds the moment you wager.

Forbidden Kingdom To win the Santa Anita Derby
+120
Bovada

These are the current odds for the Santa Anita Derby at the top online sportsbooks. Track them as the race gets closer, and place your bet when you are getting an overlay on a horse who can win the race!

BovadaBetOnlineBetUS
Messier+100+100+100
Forbidden Kingdom+120+120+120
Taiba+400+400+400
Armagnac+2000+2000+2000
Happy Jack+2000+2000+2000
Win the Day+2000+2000+2000

Santa Anita Derby Online Betting

Our experts can help you find the best online sportsbook for betting on the Santa Anita Derby. All of the sites for which we publish reviews have trusted money management features, smooth user interfaces, and real Vegas odds on races and sporting events all year long.

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Santa Anita Derby Handicapping

You have your betting account all set up, so now it is time for the most fun part: handicapping the race and picking your horse! Here are the horses with the best chance in the 2022 Santa Anita Derby:

Santa Anita Derby Favorites

Three horses are likely to take the lion’s share of the betting attention in the Santa Anita Derby: Forbidden Kingdom, Messier, and Taiba. Forbidden Kingdom is the most likely to win this time around. He blossomed when trying two turns for the first time in the San Felipe. And, in a relatively short field on a big day at Santa Anita, there is an excellent chance speed holds up again.

Forbidden Kingdom To win the Santa Anita Derby
+120
GTBets

Messier comes into the Santa Anita Derby off of a 15-length victory in the Robert B. Lewis (G3). That was impressive, but he was not facing anyone as good as Forbidden Kingdom that day. Even though Armagnac (who shares an owner and a trainer with Messier) is likely entered as his rabbit, Armagnac proved in the San Felipe that he is not good enough to go with the top choice early, hurting Messier’s chances.

Taiba, the likely third betting choice, is more interesting. He cedes significant experience to the rest of the field since he has only started once and has never tried two turns. However, that victory was an emphatic maiden score over the Santa Anita dirt and stretching out from a sprint; he may be fast enough to be the horse who can keep the closest tabs on Forbidden Kingdom early.

Santa Anita Derby Longshots

Armagnac, Happy Jack, and Win the Day will all be long shots since they come into the Santa Anita Derby with a lot to prove.  As mentioned in the context of Messier, Armagnac is a speed horse who will probably struggle because he has yet to show he is fast enough to put real pressure on Forbidden Kingdom.

Happy Jack won at Santa Anita on his debut, in a six-furlong sprint race. However, his pair of two-turn attempts both ended up in disappointment: a well-beaten fifth and last behind Messier in the Lewis, and a well-beaten third to Forbidden Kingdom in the San Felipe. Even though he goes blinkers-on, his previous efforts with blinkers did not show a lot of early speed.

Win the Day is the most interesting of the longshot horses. After two merely decent tries on the grass, he blossomed when switching to dirt for the first time last month. He will face winners for the first time in this and would benefit if Taiba does turn out to be fast enough to put real pressure on Forbidden Kingdom early. Still, he is unexposed over the dirt and has the most upside to improve enough to get a piece of the action.

Free Santa Anita Derby Picks

These are your free expert picks for the 2022 Santa Anita Derby:

  • $20 to win - #3 Forbidden Kingdom

  • $1 exacta - #3 Forbidden Kingdom over #6 Taiba

  • $0.50 trifecta - #3 Forbidden Kingdom over #6 Taiba over #4 Messier and #5 Win the Day

Forbidden Kingdom To win the Santa Anita Derby
+120
Bovada