Sham in the Santa Anita DerbySham looked good coming within a second of the track record in winning a 1 1/16-mile allowance race at Santa Anita in February. He looked even better winning the March 31 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) over odds-on favorite Linda's Chief."There is the temptation to report that Sham made a shambles of his field in the Santa Anita Derby," wrote The Blood-Horse's Robert Hebert. "The phrase is accurate, descriptive, and has the added virtue of being right to the point."On an overcast afternoon before a crowd of 49,564, the strapping bay son of Pretense equaled the stakes record of 1:47 for 1 1/8 miles, set by Lucky Debonair in 1965, becoming the 36th winner of the Santa Anita Derby...."Sham has the speed, the power, and the strength to give a good account of himself anywhere he runs."
Sham, who got to the mile marker in 1:34 3/5, came within three-fifths of the second of the track record for the 1 1/8 miles. His Kentucky Derby (gr. I) future book odds dropped to 4-1, behind only Secretariat's, and there was a chance that the two colts might meet in the Wood Memorial Stakes at Aqueduct two weeks before the Run for the Roses. Sham's trainer, Pancho Martin, couldn't wait.