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Fierceness, Sierra Leone top Kentucky Derby qualifiers – San Gabriel Valley Tribune

Fierceness, with jockey John Velazquez aboard in winning the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on Nov. 3, 2023, at Santa Anita, is one of 20 horses entered into the Kentucky Derby on May 4, 2024, at Churchill Downs. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

SANTA ANITA LEADERS

(Through Thursday)

Jockeys / Wins

Juan Hernandez / 53

Antonio Fresu / 46

Flavien Prat / 42

Frankie Dettori / 34

Umberto Rispoli / 28

Trainers / Wins

Doug O’Neill / 30

Mark Glatt / 29

Phil D’Amato / 28

Bob Baffert / 24

Steve Knapp / 20

WEEKEND STAKES AT SANTA ANITA

Saturday

• $100,000, Grade III Californian Stakes, 4-year-olds and up, 1 1/8 miles

• $100,000, Grade III Providencia Stakes, 3-year-old fillies, 1 1/8 miles on turf

Sunday

• $200,000, Grade II Santa Maria Stakes, fillies and mares 4 and up, 1 1/16 miles

• $100,000 Siren Lure Stakes, 4-year-olds and up, about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf

DOWN THE STRETCH

• Kentucky Derby qualifiers are set, plus other horses who could scratch in. Here are the 20 horses for the Saturday, May 4 race, with odds as of Wednesday at the Westgate in Las Vegas (reported by Horse Racing Nation): Fierceness +275, Sierra Leone +325, Catching Freedom 10-1, Dornoch 10-1, Forever Young 10-1, Domestic Product 18-1, Honor Marie 18-1, Just a Touch 20-1, Mystik Dan 20-1, Track Phantom 20-1, Resilience 25-1, Just Steel 25-1, Endlessly 30-1, Stronghold 30-1, Encino 40-1, Deterministic 50-1, Catalytic 100-1, Society Man 100-1, TO Password 100-1, West Saratoga 100-1. Next up if there are dropouts: Common Defense 200-1, Grand Mo the First 200-1, Epic Ride 300-1. Endlessly and Stronghold are the California hopes.

• Santa Anita resumes racing at 1 p.m. Friday after a week off, offering free parking and admission each Friday of the “Hollywood Meet” portion of its season. Racing is scheduled Friday, Saturday and Sunday through June 16, plus Memorial Day on Monday, May 27, and Thursday, June 13. Big events are the May 27 Hollywood Gold Cup, Shoemaker Mile and Gamely Stakes, and five Cal-bred stakes on California Gold Rush Day on May 25.

• One horse died while racing at Santa Anita during the track’s Dec. 26-April 7 “Classic Meet,” a decline from four deaths in the same period a year earlier, according to California Horse Racing Board data. Santa Anita officials welcomed the decline as a sign of the effectiveness of the program of pre-race veterinary exams enacted after a 2019 spike in horse deaths. A total of nine horses have died at Santa Anita since Dec. 26, same as a year ago, including incidents in racing, training and other circumstances, from musculoskeletal and other causes. Deaths in training from musculoskeletal injuries rose to five from two last year. Cardiac “sudden deaths” declined to one from four last year. The death in a race occurred March 16; Matanzas Creek was euthanized after breaking a foreleg.

• The racing board on Thursday approved Santa Anita’s plan for a new high-payout wager challenging bettors to pick three trifectas in a row in a set of designated races. It will offer minor payoffs for the many bettors who won’t meet that challenge. A track official told board members the “Three by Three” will debut in the next two weeks with a 22% takeout.

• Santa Anita’s stakes Saturday test two sharp horses. The Californian has Judge Miller (Mike Smith riding) trying the stakes level and stretching out after an 11-length romp at a mile for trainer Mark Glatt. The Providencia has 3-for-3 Medoro (Antonio Fresu) seeking a graded stakes win in her first race beyond a mile for Peter Eurton.

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