Creative Cause, the West Coast’s leading candidate for the Kentucky Derby (G1), drew the rail for Saturday’s $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (G1).
The complete field in post position order is as follows: 1. Creative Cause; 2. Liaison; 3. Holy Candy; 4. I’ll Have Another; 5. Longview Drive; 6. Paynter; 7. Senor Rain; 8. Midnight Transfer; 9. Blueskiesnrainbows; 10. Brother Francis.
Owned by Heinz Steinmann and trained by Mike Harrington, Creative Cause won the San Felipe Stakes (G2) last time out following a third-place finish in the San Vicente Stakes. He captured last year’s Norfolk Stakes (G1) at Santa Anita before checking in third behind Hansen and Union Rags in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Churchill Downs.
“A lot of people thought the San Vicente was a bad race,” Harrington said following the San Felipe. “I was ecstatic with it.” A licensed veterinarian, he emphasized the importance of progression. “I said all along it’s a progression,” Harrington explained, “and the only thing I hope is that he doesn’t peak in the Santa Anita Derby instead of the Kentucky Derby.”
Creative Cause has been installed as the 6-5 favorite. I’ll Have Another is the 5-2 second choice on Jon White’s morning line.
Trainer Bob Baffert will send out Liaison, Paynter and Blueskiesnrainbows in the 1 1/8-mile test.
The field also includes impressive winner Holy Candy, bred by Jenny Craig’s Craig Family Trust and owned by Craig Stables in partnership with Donkey Island Racing, which includes New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees.
The lone maiden in the field, Brother Francis, has been listed as a 20-1 long shot with Garrett Gomez set to ride.
Creative Cause/Benoit photo