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ARCADIA, CA – Switching surfaces and stepping up in class proved no matter for Hronis Racing and Talla Racing’s Rock Your World, who rocked the Kentucky Derby (G1) trail with a strong gate-to-wire victory in Saturday’s $750,000 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1).
Rock Your World broke alertly from post 3 under Umberto Rispoli as the 5/1 third choice in the field of nine 3-year-olds and set a measured tempo with Parnelli and Dream Shake closely stalking him.
After posting opening fractions of :22.42, :46.11, and 1:10.64, Rock Your World began extending his advantage while cornering the far turn and straightened for home with a growing lead.
With his rivals chasing vainly behind, the John Sadler trainee crossed 4 1/4 lengths much the best while completing the 1 1/8-mile fast dirt route in 1:49.17.
“Umberto Rispoli has been a great addition to our jockey colony here,” Sadler said. “The post dictated our strategy. I saw Umberto in the paddock this morning at 8 AM and I told him, ‘Go big or go home.’ We had to get out of there … It worked out great and I’m very excited.”
The 4/5 favorite Medina Spirit was unable to reel in the winner after stalking in mid-pack early on, though he was 2 1/4 lengths clear of Dream Shake.
Defunded, Law Professor, Parnelli, The Great One, the winner’s stablemate Back Ring Luck, and Ottothelegend completed the order of finish. Roman Centurian scratched.
The Santa Anita Derby is part of the Road to the 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race season. Rock Your World earned 100 points for the win, with Medina Spirit receiving 40 for second, Dream Shake 20 for third, and Defunded 10 for fourth.
Rock Your World’s win kept him undefeated in 3 starts following a 6-furlong sprint and the two-turn mile Pasadena Stakes, both over the local lawn. The Candy Ride colt has now earned $546,600.
“The plan was to run him a couple of times on the turf, and now it was time to get the points,” Sadler said. “We gotta get the points to think about going to Kentucky. We knew we had to be either 1 or 2 today to have enough points to go.”
Rock Your World returned $12.40 to win, $4.60 to place, and $3.40 to show. Medina Spirit brought back $2.80 to place and $2.20 to show. Dream Shake paid $2.80 to show.
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