By Emily Shields
The first 2021 Kentucky Derby prep race at Santa Anita Park takes place on January 2 with the running of the $100,000 Sham Stakes (G3) over one mile. Last year, this race produced eventual Kentucky Derby winner Authentic. TVG.com is the best place to bet Santa Anita racing online.
Trainer Bob Baffert, who conditioned Authentic, appears poised to win again this year with the exciting youngster Life Is Good. The $525,000 son of Into Mischief rolled home in his Del Mar debut on November 22, winning by 9 ½ lengths under Mike Smith. That jockey will be back aboard the newly-turned sophomore colt Saturday, who is 2-5 on the morning line.
His stablemate is Medina Spirit. The son of Protonico takes the blinkers off for this. He broke his maiden sprinting at Los Alamitos on December 11, winning by three lengths under Abel Cedillo. That jockey will be back aboard as this guy stretches out for the first time. He worked five furlongs in 1:02 flat on December 27.
Trainer John Shirreffs has two runners in the race, with Waspirant the longer shot at 15-1. He takes the blinkers off after a bit of a layoff, having not run since the September 26 American Pharoah (G1). He was 6-1 that day and ran fourth after breaking his maiden going a mile at Del Mar. Umberto Rispoli will be up on the son of Breeders’ Cup Ladies Classic (G1) heroine Life Is Sweet.
The other Shirreffs runner is Parnelli, who is well liked at 5-2. The son of Quality Road cost $500,000, but took four tries to break his maiden. He ran second in his first three starts, including two narrow losses by a neck, then finally won by nearly six lengths on November 28. Drayden Van Dyke will ride the bay colt.
Uncle Boogie rounds out the field. The son of Ride On Curlin is trained by Andrew Lerner, and is coming out of the Grade 3 Bob Hope where he ran second, beaten by the Shirreffs sophomore who isn’t in this race, Red Flag. Uncle Boogie broke his maiden over this course at the $32,000 level, and has never been worse than second.
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