Santa Anita Derby 2024: Tapalo is improving at the right price

The Kentucky Derby trail along the west coast draws to a close Saturday, April 6 with the Santa Anita Derby (G1)! With a field of eight top three-year-olds ready to go 1 ⅛ miles on the dirt for some of the biggest spoils of the season, it is one of the most exciting horse racing betting opportunities of the Santa Anita meet!

In addition to a rich $750,000 purse, the top five finishers receive 100-50-25-15-10 Road to the Kentucky Derby points if they are eligible to do so. Horses trained by Bob Baffert are not eligible for the Kentucky Derby. But, a winner trained by anyone else will punch their ticket to the biggest race of the year, and even the second-place horse may earn a spot.

TapaloTo win the Santa Anita Derby
★★★★★
+500
Bet now

The Santa Anita Derby is, historically, one of the most important Kentucky Derby preps. Ten horses have won it en route to a victory in the Kentucky Derby. These include Triple Crown winners Affirmed (1978) and Justify (2018), as well as recent stars like California Chrome (2014) and I’ll Have Another (2012).

Read on to find out the top contenders for the 2024 Santa Anita Derby as well as the best places to play the Santa Anita Derby online.

Where to Bet the Santa Anita Derby

Before you bet a single dollar on the Santa Anita Derby, make sure you choose the best place for you to bet horse races online. Our experts are here to make that decision easy. With trusted reviews of top sportsbooks, we can help you make an educated choice quickly and easily so you can get to the fun part: betting on races and sports!

Every site we recommend has the basic things you need for a great online betting experience: a smooth user interface, trusted money management features, and market-leading odds. They each offer different incentives that give varying returns based on your preferred stakes and wagers. In just a few minutes our experts will help you find the sportsbook sign-up bonuses, rebates, and referral incentives that will make you the most money!

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Santa Anita Derby Horses and Odds

This is the official field for the 2024 Santa Anita Derby including draw numbers, trainers, jockeys, and morning-line odds:

  1. Curlin’s Kaos (Antonio Garcia / Diego Herrera) – 20/1
  2. Tapalo (John Sadler / Umberto Rispoli) – 5/1
  3. Stronghold (Phil D’Amato / Antonio Fresu) – 5/2
  4. Imagination (Bob Baffert / Frankie Dettori) – 8/5
  5. Wynstock (Bob Baffert / Juna Hernandez) – 8/1
  6. Tessuto (George Papaprodromou / Kazushi Kimura) – 10/1
  7. Mc Vay (John Shirreffs / Hector Berrios) – 5/1
  8. E J Won the Cup (Doug O’Neill / Mike Smith) – 15/1

Keep in mind that the morning-line odds are just the racetrack’s best guess for what the odds will look like come race day. They are not a guarantee, since on-track odds are based on all the betting action and therefore fluctuate until post time.

Your best bet is to play the Santa Anita Derby at an online sportsbook! Online sportsbooks offer fixed-odds wagering on major horse races like the Santa Anita Derby, so you can guarantee yourself the best odds just by placing a bet. Then, all you have to do is watch the race and know exactly what you’ll get when your horse wins!

BovadaBetOnline ReviewBetUS Review
Imagination+160+160+160
Stronghold+250+250+250
Tapalo+500+500+500
Mc Vay+500+500+500
Wynstock+800+800+800

Free Santa Anita Derby Picks

In the field for the 2024 Santa Anita Derby, these horses make the most sense for your wagers because they provide the best balance of win chance and value on the board.

Santa Anita Derby Win Candidates

The horse to beat in the Santa Anita Derby is Imagination. The Bob Baffert charge comes out of a win in the San Felipe over this track, and some stamina pedigree on the bottom is often enough to carry a good Into Mischief baby nine furlongs, perhaps even further. There is a lot of speed drawn into this race, but he has already shown he can battle if he has to and keep going. He also ran Maymun to a neck margin two back, perhaps a better suggestion of quality than even his stakes win.

TapaloTo win the Santa Anita Derby
★★★★★
+500
Bet now

The other horse who looks like a win contender, and may actually be a bettable price, is Tapalo. Trained by John Sadler, Tapalo took four starts to break his maiden but finally did so two back at Santa Anita. That was only a seven-furlong spront, but he returns to run a good second behind Endlessly in the El Camino Real Derby. That makes him the only horse in the field who has tried 1 ⅛ miles already, and the only horse who beat him came back to win the Jeff Ruby (G3) impressively.

Underneath Contenders in the Santa Anita Derby

Stronghold, a Phil D’Amato trainee coming in off of a win in the Sunland Park Derby, faces tougher foes in this spot but he is no stranger to snagging underneath shares in graded stakes in California. He has the tactical speed to get a forward trip, and even though he has been off for almost two months D’Amato brings horses ready off similar freshenings. Expect his usual competitive effort.

Wynstock is the Bob Baffert “B” in this field. He comes in off of a flop in the Southwest (G3) at Oaklawn, but the track came up muddy that day. He likely returns to his preferred fast footing for this race. He does his best when he can make the top, and he will have company, but he does have the early pace to make the top and dare the field to come catch him.

Santa Anita Derby Free Picks

Your wagering account is ready, and you have gotten to know the real contenders in the field. Now it’s time for the best part: placing your wager! These are your best bets for Saturday’s 2024 Santa Anita Derby:

  • $20 to win – #2 Tapalo
  • $1 exacta- #2 Tapalo and #4 Imagination over #3 Stronghold
  • $0.50 trifecta key – #2 Tapalo with #3 Stronghold, #4 Imagination, #5 Wynstock
  • $0.20 superfecta key – #2 Tapalo with #3 Stronghold, #4 Imagination, #5 Wynstock
TapaloTo win the Santa Anita Derby
★★★★★
+500
Bet now
Rowan Ward

Rowan is a seasoned veteran of the horse racing industry. She has dedicated nearly two decades of her life to this area. From starting as a groom and progressing to become a horse owner, her journey has taken her through various roles in marketing and media. Along the way, she honed her handicapping skills while working in horse racing broadcasting in both the United States and Canada. In her spare time, Rowan enjoys books and cares for an array of farm animals, including sheep, goats, ducks, and chickens.