08/19/2010 2:33PM

Real Derby Preps Once More


One of the great things about Santa Anita going back to a dirt main track is what it does for the Southern California route to the Kentucky Derby.

You can debate all you want how much impact Santa Anita's Derby preps had the last three years when they were run on a synthetic surface, or if they even had any impact at all. The point is, now that races like the Santa Anita Derby, the San Felipe, the Sham, and others will be run on dirt - the same surface the Kentucky Derby and the other Triple Crown races are run on - there will no longer be a need for a California-based 3-year-old to flee his home base to get some experience on dirt before Derby Day. Now, with Santa Anita going back to dirt, it is hard to envision the Southern California route to the Derby being anything other than the viable and vital course it was before the synthetic track experiment.