ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) – Justify vaulted into the role of probable Kentucky Derby favorite with a three-length victory over Bolt d’Oro in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby.
Trained by Bob Baffert and winner of his three career starts by a combined 19 lengths, Justify had to finish first or second on Saturday to earn enough qualifying points to run in the Derby on May 5.
It wasn’t a problem.
Justify led all the way under Mike Smith to claim the 100 points toward qualifying for the Run for the Roses. The colt ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.72 and paid $3.80, $2.20 and $2.10 as the 3-5 favorite in the field of seven.
Bolt d’Oro returned $2.20 and $2.10, while Core Beliefs was another 6Â½ lengths back in third and paid $4 to show.
Bolt d’Oro and Javier Castellano chased Justify into the stretch turn. Castellano moved his colt down toward the rail and they ranged up on Justify’s flank, but never seriously threatened. Justify continued to pull away approaching the finish line.
Good Magic overtook Flameaway entering the stretch to win the $1 million Blue Grass Stakes by 1Â½ lengths at Keeneland and earn 100 qualifying points for the Kentucky Derby.
Good Magic, last year’s 2-year-old champion and the 8-5 favorite, waited through a far-turn battle between Flameaway and Arawak before taking control and winning the Grade 2 race Saturday.
Trained by Chad Brown, Good Magic earned his first victory since last fall’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar and his second in five career starts.
Under jockey Jose Ortiz, Good Magic covered 1 1/8 miles in 1:50.18 and paid $5.20, $3.60 and $2.80.
Flameaway returned $5 and $3.80 and earned 40 points. The stewards disqualified Sporting Chance from third to fourth and moved Free Drop Billy up to third after he was forced wide by Sporting Chance in the stretch.
Free Drop Billy returned $3.60 to show and earned 20 points, while Sporting Chance got 10 points for fourth.
Vino Rosso survived a stewards’ inquiry to win the $1 million Wood Memorial and earn 100 points toward qualifying for the Kentucky Derby.
Ridden by John Velazquez, Vino Rosso ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:49.79 at Aqueduct on Saturday for trainer Todd Pletcher.
Vino Rosso and Enticed hooked up at the top of the stretch and dueled until Vino Rosso pulled away nearing the finish.
It appeared that Vino Rosso came over and bumped Enticed along the rail hard twice in the stretch. That prompted the stewards’ inquiry and an objection but after video review, there was no change to the order of finish.
Sent off at 4-1 odds, Vino Rosso paid $10.40, $4.40 and $3.40.
Enticed returned $2.90 and $2.40, while Restoring Hope, trained Baffert, paid $3.30 to show.
AP Sports Writer Gary B. Graves in Lexington, Kentucky, contributed to this report.