M.L.S. Playoff Preview: An L.A. Derby and More Questions Answered
The Los Angeles Derby, the second leg of the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap & Handicap Sprint Championships, gets underway Friday night at Santa Anita with 5 1/2-year-olds starting on the main track and then moving up to the main stretch for the second half of the card.
The $2 million Santa Anita Derby (1 1/16 miles) will be run in front of a large crowd at the track’s main track for the first time since the 1991 Breeders’ Cup and at the track’s legendary quarter-mile oval.
In the days after Saturday’s California Derby (gr. I), L.A. Horseplayers Association president Todd Pletcher has issued a statement confirming that the L.A. Derby will be run on a dirt track. We’ll see how they feel about this as the day approaches, but it does mean we’re going to be seeing the Breeders’ Cup Handicap and Sprint (gr. I) at Santa Anita for the first time since 1993.
We’ll get the third leg of the Santa Anita Breeders’ Cup (gr. I) this week (Sunday, Aug. 24) and the fourth leg in September (April, May, July, and September). That means that the next Triple Crown prep race at Santa Anita will be held at the track just a little over two years after the Kentucky Derby was moved to Churchill Downs.
It’s probably the most significant time in the history of Santa Anita to get a Triple Crown event in 2015.
I can’t think of a time when the Breeders’ Cup, the Derby, and the Preakness all sat at the same track in the same year — or for at least the last eight years — before the Preakness has been