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The Great One Eyes Santa Anita Derby
The Great One breaking his maiden (Credit: Ernie Belmonte)

The Great One Eyes Santa Anita Derby

ARCADIA, CA – Trainer Doug O’Neill hopes The Great One rebounds from his disappointing fifth-place finish behind recently sidelined Life Is Good in the San Felipe Stakes (G2) on March 6 when he runs in the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby (G1) next Saturday, April 3.

Named for NHL superstar Wayne Gretzky, The Great One was coming off a smashing 14-length maiden win prior to the San Felipe, in which he finished almost 17 lengths behind Life Is Good after bumping a rival at the start and going four-wide into the stretch before weakening.

“The Great One is scheduled to work tomorrow and as long as that goes well and he comes out of it in good shape, that’s the plan,” said O’Neil, who posted back-to-back Santa Anita Derby victories with eventual Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another in 2012 and Goldencents in 2013.

“Abel (Cedillo) will be back on him and we’re excited about getting another chance against these caliber of horses,” O’Neill said. ‘We’re real happy with The Great One and think he can rebound and run a big race.”

Team O’Neill obviously was delighted with Hot Rod Charlie’s dominant triumph in the Louisiana Derby (G2) on March 20. The son of Oxbow will train up to the Run for the Roses, which the trainer also won in 2016 with Nyquist, 2020’s leading freshman sire.

“He’s back here at Santa Anita and looks great,” O’Neill said of Hot Rod Charlie. “We’re optimistic about the first Saturday in May with him.”

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