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Smith Says Hoppertunity Still Improving

Although Mike Smith has ridden Hoppertunity but once, the Hall of Fame jockey has good vibes about the colt’s future.

“He has a lot of ability, and what I like about him most is it looks like he’s got room to grow,” said Smith, who won the Grade II Rebel Stakes in his only ride on the son of Any Given Saturday on March 15. “He hasn’t peaked yet, which is good.

“You don’t want him to peak last month; you want him to start getting ready now, and, of course, for the next one (Kentucky Derby on May 3). He also galloped out really strong (after the Rebel).

“He gave me the indication that distance wasn’t going to be a problem, so all is good. He might be a horse coming around at the right time. I sure hope so. We’ll see.”

Victory in the Santa Anita Derby is worth 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points to the winner. Second is worth 40 points, third, 20, and fourth, 10.

Nearly $2 million in stakes purses will be offered Saturday. In addition, Santa Anita will have a $500,000 guaranteed Late Pick 4 and present free Derby Day T-shirts with paid admission, while supplies last, and have more than 30 premium local food trucks throughout the Infield.

The annual Santa Anita Derby Day 5K run also will take place, and the track’s spacious Infield will be rocking with popular local breweries and epic cover tunes from Super Diamond, in addition to live world-class horse racing.

Special packages are available at santaanita.com/events. Use promo code DERBY for 50 percent discounts.

Horse Racing Radio Network (HRRN) will broadcast the Santa Anita Derby from 2 to 4 p.m.; on Sirius channel 93 as well as select HRRN affiliates around the country, and streamed worldwide on its website, www.horseracingradio.net.

In other Santa Anita Derby news:

California Chrome galloped on the main track and schooled in the paddock Friday morning under the direction of trainer Art Sherman’s son, Alan, a trainer in his own right.

“Chrome,” as he is called around the barn, didn’t turn a hair as he stood like a statue in stall No. 5 for a full five minutes outside the jockeys’ room and behind the walking ring, with exercise rider Willie Delgado, brother of jockey Alberto Delgado, in the saddle.

          

 

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