|The Santa Anita Derby is a
prestigious American Gr 1 horserace for three-year-old thoroughbreds
which is contested annually in April over 1 1/8 miles at California's
popular horse racing venue, Santa Anita Park. With a purse of $750,000,
it is one of the most important prep races for the Kentucky Derby.
Since its inauguration in 1935, the Santa Anita Derby has become one of
California's most popular races amongst horseracing fans as well as
owners, trainers and jockeys. As such, it regularly attracts many of the
best three-year-olds from the West Coast and beyond, all eager to
impress at Churchill Downs come May.
Over the years the Santa Anita Derby has yielded six Kentucky Derby
winners - Determine (1954), Swaps (1955), Lucky Debonair (1965),
Affirmed (1978), Winning Colors (1988) and Sunday Silence (1989). In
1935, 1936 and 1937 the race was contested over 1 1/16 miles and in 1947
over 1 1/4 miles.
Being an important race, and one of the most crucial ahead of the
Kentucky Derby, the Santa Anita Derby has its own prep races (at Santa
Anita Park) - the San Rafael Stakes, the San Miguel Stakes, the San
Felipe Stakes, the Sham Stakes, the San Vicente Stakes and the Santa
Lucky Debonair (1965), Sham (1973) and Indian Charlie (1998) - all share
the fastest time in the Santa Anita Derby of 1:47.00. Jockey Gary
Stevens has won the Santa Anita Derby a record three times as have
trainers Bob Baffert and D. Wayne Lukas.