There are no stars like Brother Derek in the Santa Anita Derby this year. There might be another sleeper like Giacomo.
The 11/8-mile test for 3-year-olds, often a West Coast steppingstone toward the Triple Crown races, shapes up as one of the most unpredictable in years.
Liquidity, coming off a sixth-place finish in the Louisiana Derby and whose lone win was in his racing debut last September, is the 5-2 favorite for the 70th running of the Santa Anita Derby.
In last year's Santa Anita Derby, Brother Derek went off as the 1-2 favorite and won by 31/4 lengths, setting him up to be one of the favorites leading to the Kentucky Derby. He ended up fourth.
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The Santa Anita Derby-Kentucky Derby link was considerably different in 2005.
Giacomo finished fourth as long-shot Buzzards Bay won at Santa Anita. Giacomo went on to win the Kentucky Derby as a 50-1 shot.
Wood Memorial: This could be the key prep of the day, with Nobiz Like Shobiz facing Any Given Saturday. Nobiz Like Shobiz has been touted as a potential star since he began his career, and he still might prove to be one. But Any Given Saturday looks like the stronger horse; he gave Street Sense a tough fight in the Tampa Bay Derby, losing by only a nose with a more difficult trip. Of all the 3-year-olds running today, he is the one most likely to verify that he is a bona fide Kentucky Derby contender.
Aqueduct: Ice Cool Kitty split rivals in the stretch and drew off to a 31/2-length victory yesterday in the $46,000 allowance feature for fillies and mares in New York. Apprentice Joe Talamo was aboard for his third win on the card. Ice Cool Kitty ran a mile on the fast track in 1:35.39.