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Flashback to be favored on Santa Anita Derby morning line
Flashback will be the favorite on Jon White's Santa Anita Derby morning line when those odds are issued following Wednesday's draw for post positions.
"As soon as Hear the Ghost won the San Felipe, I immediately started to think about the morning line for the Santa Anita Derby," White said. "And my initial thought was, 'Well, it looks like Hear the Ghost is probably going to be the Santa Anita Derby favorite.'
"But as I monitored the reaction to the San Felipe in the days following that race, a lot of people all over the country talked about how well they thought Flashback ran in the San Felipe to lose by only a half-length after getting involved in such a fierce pace duel with Goldencents.
"The reaction to Flashback's San Felipe performance, coupled with the belief expressed by many people that Hear the Ghost won partly because he was able to benefit from a pace meltdown, swayed me to think there is a strong probability Flashback is going to be the favorite when they exit the starting gate for the Santa Anita Derby.
"But I also expect Flashback and Hear the Ghost to be pretty close in the betting. Keep in mind that in the most recent Kentucky Derby Future Wager pool, Flashback's price was 15-1 and Hear the Ghost also was 15-1. Goldencents was 49-1."
White said another factor in deciding to make Flashback the Santa Anita Derby morning line favorite is the strong backing he has received in each of his races.
"Flashback has been a heavy favorite in all three of his races so far," said White, who again will be making the official morning lines for all of this year's Breeders' Cup races at Santa Anita in November. "Flashback was even money in his career debut, 1-2 when he won the Lewis and even-money again in the San Felipe.
"Hear the Ghost has never been the favorite in his three races. He was 16-1 in his career debut, 7-2 when he ran second in the San Pedro and 5-1 when he won the San Felipe.
"In terms of the Santa Anita Derby, I think it's kind of a tricky call as to just how strongly Flashback is going to get bet," White continued. "On the one hand, he has yet to be higher than even money. Based on that, I wouldn't be surprised to see him start at somewhere around even money in the Santa Anita Derby.
"On the other hand, Flashback did get beat last time and he has yet to earn a big Beyer Speed Figure. His top Beyer has been only a 93. A lot of bettors who emphasize Beyer Speed Figures, Thoro-Graph figures or Ragozin figures probably are not going to be betting on Flashback, especially since he will be lower than 2-1. That's why I am not inclined to make Flashback as low as even-money or 6-5 for the Santa Anita Derby.
"All things considered, it seems to me the proper morning line price on Flashback is something lower than 2-1 but higher than 6-5. Unless there are any changes with respect to the currently anticipated Santa Anita Derby field of eight, I am thinking 9-5 for Flashback's morning line price, with Hear the Ghost 5-2."
There will be a $750,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 on Santa Anita Derby Day; fans at Santa Anita will be offered a free Santa Anita Derby T-shirt with paid admission, while supplies last; KROQ presents Iration in concert; and there will be more than 50 microbrew/craft beer vendors, in addition to Premium Food Trucks.