Today is Derby Day at Santa Anita Park in California. The Santa Anita Derby is set for this afternoon, with a scheduled post time of 4:09 PST. We will finally get to see Authentic and Honor A. P. race again. With Nadal going down with an ankle injury and retiring, attention will be on Charlatan and Authentic moving forward.
Charlatan has had a poker face on regarding whether Charlatan is going to run in the Belmont Stakes or not. With Nadal out, it’d be logical for Charlatan to go into the Belmont Stakes and give Baffert a chance at the Triple Crown again. Authentic stays in California for the Santa Anita Derby and opportunity at the top prize of the $400,000 purse today.
The Santa Anita Derby isn’t the only stakes race on Saturday. It’s a big day of racing with seven stakes races on the racecard. The purse size between all seven races includes $1,375,000, with the Santa Anita Derby the biggest at $400,000. We have the Pick 5 and Pick 6 at Santa Anita Park covered for you on Saturday. Head below for our free Santa Anita Park Pick 5 and Pick 6 selections and Santa Anita Derby pick for June 6, 2020.
Pick 6: Race 6-11
Pick 5: Race 7-11
Post Time: 3:03 p.m. PST
Distance: 6 ½ Furlongs
We’ll get started with Race 6 to start our Pick 6 ticket at Santa Anita Park on Saturday. This isn’t a stakes race, but it still carries a decent purse of $50,000. Seven horses will run on the dirt for the top prize. Cezanne and Rayray will be involved in the stretch in this one. Barring any setbacks or bad breaks, they’re both going to be right up there near the front.
Rayray finished 7th in back-to-back events before dropping classes and immediately finding things much easier. He was in the mix to place on May 15, finishing 2 ½ lengths back of Ka’nah. Along with the drop in class, Rayray was in much better form. Let’s not ignore the fact that the training paid off and a solid performance followed.
Cezanne is making his debut in this one and is expected to perform right out of the gate. The only thing holding him back might be nerves. If he’s bothered in the gate, then that could end up hurting his chances. However, Cezanne has been more than terrific in workouts leading up to this race. In his most recent workouts, Cezanne was clocked at 59 seconds and 59.40 seconds at 5 furlongs, and 47.60 seconds at 4 furlongs.
Those are all excellent numbers, and in that form, he could probably compete and win a more difficult race than what he has today in Race 6. Cezanne is expected to have a prolific career and is a name to remember. He was purchased for $3,650,000 and Bob Baffert is excited about this 3-year-old, who might have a chance of squeaking into the Kentucky Derby.
Race 7 – Crystal Water Stakes
Post Time: 3:34 p.m. PST
The first stakes race on our ticket and first leg for the Pick 5. This race will offer a $100,000 purse over 1-mile on turf at Santa Anita Park. Prince Earl and Ward n’ Jerry are likely going to be the front runners in the event. Prince Earl enters the Crystal Water Stakes for his sixth straight graded event.
His best performance was in the Del Mar Mile Handicap (Gr. 2), which he won on August 8, 2019. Prince Early got the win by ¾ lengths over Sharp Samurai. He was a back-to-back winner in the first two starts of his career, and then went straight for the big boys in stakes races.
Prince Early has finished 4th, 4th, 1st, 3rd, 5th in his career in graded races. He finished 5th in the Seabiscuit Handicap (Gr. 2) in his most recent outing on November 30, 2019. Prince Early has been entering some tough races, and this will likely be another challenge for him on Saturday. However, a win is certainly within reach for Prince Early in this contest. Ward n’ Jerry will likely give him the biggest problems.
Ward n’ Jerry is fresh off a win in the San Luis Rey Stakes on March 21. He won by 1 ¼ lengths over Camino Del Paraiso for a strong effort. Each of his previous three races have been graded events, with Ward n’ Jerry finishing 3rd, 2nd, 1st with improvements made each trip out to the gate. He wasn’t good enough to find a win in the Unusual Heat Turf Classic Stakes on January 18, but was near the front to lose by 3 ½ lengths. I give the slight edge to Ward n’ Jerry over Prince Early.
Race 8 – Santa Anita Derby
Post Time: 4:09 p.m. PST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
This is the race that some of you came here for. The feature race of the day at Santa Anita Park, as its namesake event, the Santa Anita Derby, is set for racing in Race 8. A purse worth $400,000 and 100 points to the winner is up for grabs. This is a strong field, especially with Authentic and Honor A. P. signed up to race in this one. For a longshot, Azul Coast from the No. 5 post position might be worth a sprinkle.
Azul Coast is a winner in 2 of 3 races in his career, with his most recent outing a win in the El Camino Real Derby. Placing in the Sham Stakes wasn’t a bad run at all, either. The problem for Azul Coast is that the competition level goes up tenfold on Saturday. Azul Coast is 30th on the Road to the Kentucky Derby leaderboard and needs a strong run here.
Honor A. P. is 23rd with 20 points up on the board. He was a winner on October 13, 2019, though has yet to record a win in a graded event. Following that win, Honor A. P. got the starting nod in the San Felipe Stakes (Gr. 2) on March 7. That was a major test for Honor A. P. and he ran well.
There was one problem in that race, though. He had to deal with Authentic who was on fire. Authentic took over the race at the ¼ pole and cleared the wire for a win by 2 ¼ lengths. Honor A. P. made it interesting in the stretch, but didn’t have enough in the tank to overtake Authentic. Honor A. P. has been good in recent workouts, with times of 59.20 seconds and 1:00.20 seconds at 4 furlongs.
Authentic was my Kentucky Derby pick months ago, and I still feel confident in him barring any injuries like Nadal. Authentic is a perfect 3 for 3 with wins in the Sham Stakes and San Felipe Stakes. He opened his career at Del Mar with an easy win on November 9, 2019. Along with the horse, you have to like that Drayden Van Dyke will be aboard Authentic. He is typically very good when he’s on a horse of this caliber. Look for Authentic to edge out Mike Smith and Honor A. P. on Saturday in the Santa Anita Derby.
Race 9 – Cinema Stakes
Post Time: 4:42 p.m. PST
Distance:1 ⅛ Miles
1 ⅛ more miles at Santa Anita Park on Saturday in the Cinema Stakes. This is a step down from the Santa Anita Derby, but still a big race nonetheless. A purse worth $150,000 will be offered to seven race teams in the event. I’ve won money on a couple of horses in this race in the past. K P All Systems Go and Heywoods Beach have come through for me before. Heywoods Beach just won on May 16, which we were able to profit on.
He won by ¾ lengths after taking over the lead at the ¾ pole. It was his first win after coming close in a race before that. He has a win in four career races, with finishes of 6th, 5th, 2nd, 1st. K P All Systems Go is going to be the more dangerous horse in this race. He is coming off back-to-back wins on January 25 and March 20.
A win by 6 lengths and then 1 ¼ lengths over Liar Liar in his next race in March. He was 5th, 2nd, 6th, 6th before getting those two wins. K P All Systems Go is heading into this one in solid form, but this is easily the most difficult race of his career. Hariboux has stakes experience and recently won the Pasadena Stakes on February 29 by a length over Smooth Like Strait. He was able to do one better after placing in the Eddie Logan Stakes on December 29, 2019. Overall across ten races in his career, Hariboux has won 50% of them. I’m on Hariboux to seal the deal in the Cinema Stakes.
Race 10 – Hollywood Gold Cup
Post Time: 5:21 p.m. PST
Distance:1 ¼ Miles
Yet another stakes race at Santa Anita on Saturday, as Race 10 is the Hollywood Gold Cup (Gr. 1). There are some dangerous horses in this field, including Improbable, Higher Power, and Midcourt. All three should be involved in the stretch in this race. Higher Power is the favorite on the morning-line at +180. His performance in the Gold Cup last year didn’t go so well, but he should do better than 5th.
That would be a disastrous run if Higher Power only gets 5th here. His most high profile him thus far was in the $1 Million TVG Pacific Classic Stakes (Gr. 1) at Del Mar on August 17, 2019. He notched the over Draft Pick by 5 ¼ lengths. Impressive run, though he finished 3rd, 3rd, 10th in his most recent performances. Higher Power didn’t belong in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes and it showed. He finished 10th on January 25 and showed little kick in that effort. Overall, Higher Power 5 wins in 16 races.
Improbable is closing in on $1-million in career earnings. He’s raced in a lot of high profile races in his career, which includes the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes. Improbable was good in the Kentucky Derby to finish 4th, but could have been better in the Preakness Stakes, finishing 6th in that outing. Since winning the Shared Belief Stakes on August 25, 2019, which was right after the Preakness Stakes, Improbable finished 4th, 5th, and most recently 2nd in the Oaklawn Mile Stakes on April 11. He has 4 wins in 11 career races.
Midcourt has been the most consistent runner in this field. He has been in the top-3 in eight straight races, and in the top-2 in six of those outings. On top of that, Midcourt won five of those races. Overall, he has recorded 5 wins in 10 races in his career. The highlight of his career has been wins in the Native Diver Stakes (Gr. 3) and San Pasqual Stakes (Gr. 2). He was good in the Santa Anita Handicap (Gr. 1) in his most recent event, but had to settle for 3rd. The Gold Cup is going to be competitive. Midcourt has consistently beaten quality opponents and he has a good chance of doing it again today.
Post Time: 5:42 p.m. PST
Distance:6 ½ Furlongs
The stakes racing is done at Santa Anita Park. Race 11 should be a wide-open entertaining race, though. Nine horses will wrap up the day at Santa Anita Park on Saturday. $51,000 is up for grabs in the event. Dim Lights, Homehome, and Li’l Graven are on my shortlist in this race. Li’l Grazen is the betting favorite on the morning-line and should play a role down the stretch. She has been inconsistent, though, and a horse that can run with the best of them one day and disappear in another. She has won 3 of 25 races in her career, with the most recent on January 18 at Santa Anita Park over Chasin Lucas.
However, that’s the first win for Li’l Grazen since New Year’s Day of 2018. She went 12 straight races without a win, though able to place in three of those outings. In her latest trip to the starting gate, Li’l Grazen finished 7th on March 14. Dim Lights has basically done the same recently, but has a lot less experience. She was 3rd as a first-time starter, and then won on March 21 in her second start. Dim Lights beat Lets Get Wild by 2 ½ lengths in that one. That was apparently enough to earn a trip to the Evening Jewel Stakes, which didn’t go well at all. Dim Lights finished 8th and didn’t race like a horse that belonged stakes racing at this point in her career. She drops a class and will feel more comfortable at this level.
Homehome is a minor underdog in this race, but could run much better than that. She beat Dim Lights in the Evening Jewel Stakes and ran a much better race for 5th. Homehome was nearly 10 lengths ahead of Dim Lights, so it wasn’t a competition. Homehome has raced in five stakes races and has ample experience against much better horses than the field she is seeing today. Recent workouts have been strong, with times of 48.80 and 48.60 seconds at 4 furlongs. Good form for Homehome. It’s hard to ignore the value on her morning-line.