Santa Anita Derby 2021 Entries: Medina Spirit leads ten-horse field

Bob Baffert sends out Medina Spirit along with Defunded in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby
Bob Baffert sends out Medina Spirit along with Defunded in Saturday's Santa Anita Derby

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Last year the Santa Anita Derby drew a small field of five in an underwhelming race for bettors. Authentic got beaten by Honor A.P. as he saw his Derby stock plummet before of course - you know- winning the Derby. This year looked to be going in a similar direction until Life is Good was pulled from the race due to injury. Now the west coast Road to the Kentucky Derby culminates in a fascinating race.

Ten have been drawn into the field with several names who are very much on the radar of Horse Racing bettors. Entries and Post Positions are listed below along with an initial overview from our editor…

Santa Anita Derby 2021 Entries & Post Positions
  • Post Position
  • Horse

Post Position

  • 1.
  • 2.
  • 3.
  • 4.
  • 5.
  • 6.
  • 7.
  • 8.
  • 9.
  • 10.

Horse

  • Roman Centurian
  • Dream Shake
  • Rock Your World
  • Parnelli
  • Back Ring Luck
  • Ottothelegend
  • Medina Spirit
  • Law Professor
  • The Great One
  • Defunded

Trainer Bob Baffert seems to be able to look to the substitutes bench and call on any horse to potentially be a serious contender on the first Saturday in May. Life is Good was clearly his top choice and arguably the most impressive three-year-old for a few years. The end of his Triple Crown hopes is hugely disappointing but it does offer up possibilities for Baffert - who has been here before.

Undoubtedly the top choice here is Medina Spirit. If it wasn’t for the wonderful LIG, this horse would be undefeated coming off the back of three straight Prep Race wins. He took out the Robert B. Lewis when LIG was not running, nearly chased down his stable mate in the Sham but was blown out in the San Felipe but the storming run of the previous Derby favorite. Yet despite this - he still came home second beating out a pretty decent field. Our in-house handicapper put him at number one in his Derby rankings this week and a week in the Santa Anita Derby would keep him well and truly in the mix. He goes off from PP #7

Concert Tour will be a popular Baffert horse as well but he looks set to travel across for the Arkansas Derby although he was nominated for this one. The Hall of Fame Trainer is however bringing Defunded to Santa Anita on Saturday after breaking his Maiden just four weeks ago. In the prep for writing this piece I re-watched that race and he just turned on the jets coming down the stretch. He’ll be over-bet because he is a Baffert horse but as a what - fifth or sixth choice from the stable - he’s not a bad horse whatsoever. Looking forward to seeing what he has among real top quality company.

The second-choice for the race may well be Dream Shake who has the team split here at HorseRacing.net. Sean is big on Peter Eurton’s horse and has put him all the way up at fourth in the aforementioned weekly rankings whilst neither J.N. or myself have him in the top ten. The more I look at his third place run in the San Felipe - the more I like. Life is Good is just a better horse - and it isn’t close - but chasing home Medina Spirit is nothing to sniff at. He has a good draw with only Roman Centurian inside of him.

Doug O’Neill sends out The Great One following an extremely disappointing run at the San Felipe hoping that the Nyquist colt shows a bit more. He had a tough trip that day but he did look tired coming into the home stretch. Before that run there was some optimism surrounding this three-year-old and one poor race doesn’t mean much. Potential to do some damage at the front.

We’ve seen Roman Centurian twice on the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby. Once he gave Medina Spirit all he could handle in the closing stages of the Robert B. Lewis but followed that up with a fourth place finish at the San Felipe. He was set to be shipped up to Aqueduct for the Wood Memorial but the injury to Life is Good has had a ripple effect meaning this three-year-old stays local. He has every chance to be in the mix for some qualifying points but he’s a step below Medina Spirit.

Rock Your World switches to dirt after two wins on Turf but shouldn’t be one to play. If you watch his dirt works - you won’t come away impressed and he’s going to a race with some serious company on Saturday. He was a named horse in the last Kentucky Derby Futures Pool but he isn't one I'm really expecting anything from. A switch back to turf after this one may well be the way forward.

Parnelli, Ottothelegend, Back Ring Luck and Law Professor round out the ten-horse field.

This race has been split three-ways by us with our turf-man following this piece up with his horse-by-horse analysis and our in-house handicapper handicapping the race on Friday.

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