The Thoroughbred Corp.'s Point Given, winter-book favorite for the Kentucky Derby (gr. I), drew the rail for Saturday's Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). He has been installed the even-money morning line choice for the $750,000 1 1/8 mile race that drew a field of eight 3-year-olds.
Post time for the Santa Anita Derby is approximately 2:40 p.m. PDT, or 5:40 p.m. EDT.
A nose shy of winning last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile (gr. I) and runner-up in the voting for the Eclipse Award for top 2-year-old male, Point Given won his 2001 debut last month in the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) also at Santa Anita. Hall of Fame rider Gary Stevens will be back in the saddle on the Bob Baffert-trained colt.
It's likely Point Given will go postward odds-on for the race, and if he succeeds, will the lowest-priced winner since Brocco was victorious in 1994 at 70 cents on the dollar. In the '90s, there were three odds-on winners: Brocco, A.P. Indy ('92), and Mr. Frisky ('90).
Baffert said the San Felipe winner has been training well up to the race and appears ready for the challenge. "We're looking for a really good race out of him," he said. "We want to get this race out of the way so we can prepare for the Kentucky Derby."
Early Flyer is expected to travel north to run in the $200,000 California Derby at Bay Meadows next weekend. The rest of the field includes I Love Silver, Crafty C.T., Startac, Scorpion, Palmiero, and Cherokee Kim.
Dean Greenman, trainer of I Love Silver, who finished second to Point
Given in the San Felipe Stakes, said he expects another good showing from his colt. He admitted beating the favorite would be tough.
"I don't think we can knock him off," Greenman said. "If he runs the same race he did last time out, we'll be happy."
The speed of the race could be Crafty C.T., a late-blooming colt who scored a wire-to-wire win in the San Rafael Stakes last month. Trainer Howard Zucker has shied away from saying his horse would be pointed to the Kentucky Derby, but he hasn't ruled it out completely.
"This horse is a kid among men," Zucker said. "I can give you a better answer on Sunday. We just don't want to go to the well too early."
Seven horses, or 11.1% of those breaking from the rail, have won the Santa Anita Derby in its previous 63 runnings. Twenty-seven favorites, or 43.5%, have also won Southern California's top Kentucky Derby prep race.
A win for Baffert would tie him with trainer D. Wayne Lukas for most wins in the race with four winners. Baffert's other Santa Anita Derby winners were Cavonnier ('96), Indian Charlie ('98), and General Challenge ('99). Lukas will be reprented in this year's race by Scorpion.
The field for the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I). 1 1/8 miles
Post Horse Jockey ML
1 Point Given G. Stevens Even
2 I Love Silver L. Pincay Jr. 6-1
3 Crafty C.T. E. Delahoussaye 9-5
4 Startac A. Solis 15-1
5 Scorpion V. Espinoza 30-1
6 Early Flyer T. Baze 12-1
7 Palmeiro K. Desormeaux 8-1
8 Cherokee Kim D. Flores 30-1