With COVID Restrictions in-place, 8,246 fans attend on-track
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 3, 2021)–With fans returning on a restricted basis this weekend for the first time in over a year, 8,246 on-track attendees witnessed a tremendous day of racing on Saturday, as the 84th running of the Grade I, $750,000 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby highlighted a 12-race program that produced all-sources pari-mutuel handle of $24,282,400–the largest Runhappy Santa Anita Derby Day handle since 2007.
The Runhappy Derby, which was carded as Saturday’s eighth race, was taken by Hronis Racing’s Rock Your World, who was making only his third start and his first on dirt. Trained by John Sadler and ridden in gate to wire fashion by Umberto Rispoli, the 3-year-old colt by Candy Ride powered to a 4 ¼ length victory over Bob Baffert’s Medina Spirit and paid $12.40 to win.
Bred in Kentucky by Hall of Fame trainer Ron McAnally and his wife Debbie, Rock Your World picked up 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points and will thus try to become the 19th horse to exit the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby and go on to win the Run for the Roses on May 1 at Churchill Downs.
The Grade II, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks, carded as race six, went to the Richard Mandella-trained Soothsay, who made a bold move heading into the far turn under Flavien Prat and prevailed by a half length over Baffert’s Beautiful Gift. Owned by Claiborne Farm, Perry Bass II, Ramona Bass and Adele Dilschneider, Soothsay paid $10.40 to win and she collected 100 Kentucky Oaks qualifying points, which puts her in the gate for the “Filly Derby” on April 30 at Churchill Downs.
While Sadler collected his second Runhappy Santa Anita Derby victory, Mandella won the Santa Anita Oaks for the fourth time in his Hall of Fame career.
With three wins, two of them in stakes, Phil D’Amato moved to the top of the trainer standings as he leads Baffert by a 29-28 margin.
Riding sensation Flavien Prat bagged four wins on the afternoon, all of them in stakes and he opened up an incredible 30-win advantage over Juan Hernandez in the jockey standings, 80-50, through 45 racing days.
First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 1 p.m. With no walk-up admission, fans are encouraged to visit santaanita.com/open, to purchase reserved seating. Santa Anita continues to offer all of its races free of charge at santaanita.com/live.
Santa Anita Park Press Release
Photo: Rock Your World, (Benoit)