Santa Anita Derby 'The One'....

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5:15 pm EDT

Sadler Says Better than Other Preps

Trainer John Sadler, who doesn't have a horse in the Santa Anita Derby, says it's going to be the top Kentucky Derby prep race this year.

“The Santa Anita Derby looks like it will be the strongest of all the Kentucky Derby preps because of the depth of the field,” said Sadler today.

“I’m a lifelong Californian, so it’s no surprise to me that California horses are doing so well in places like Dubai and Kentucky and Florida, but it is kind of an amazing trend, really,” said the trainer of champion Older Female of 2015 Stellar Wind.

Horses based in Southern California have won the Kentucky Derby three times in the last four years, and two of them have gone on to be named Horse of the Year: California Chrome American Pharoah. The Santa Anita Derby has produced 17 overall Kentucky Derby winners.

“It seems like it’s happening every year now,” Sadler said. “We’re coming out with the stronger horses. We have great weather, no question, and Southern California is a great place to train. And it may not be readily acknowledged, but we’ve got a lot of accomplished trainers here in California, when you think about it.”

Desormeaux May Disagree

Kent Desormeaux hopes to land his fourth Kentucky Derby on Exaggerator, but like many others, he had a one-word response when asked who he'd have to beat.

“I could say one name: Nyquist,” said Desormeaux. “Nyquist only beat us a length and a half in the San Vicente, so in retrospect, that speaks volumes. Exaggerator is a very, very good horse, and I’m hoping that the Mike Tyson punch he took from Nyquist at the quarter pole in the San Vicente was the reason he didn’t perform to the team’s expectations."

Desormeaux won the Run for the Roses in 1998 (Real Quiet), 2000 (Fusaichi Pegasus) and 2008 (Big Brown).

“It was a significant blow, but I’m excited to try again in the Santa Anita Derby. Knowing what I know and seeing what I’ve seen about the Kentucky Derby this year, we’re all going to have to catch Nyquist.”

Edited Santa Anita release