It does not seem to matter for Rock Your World. Whatever the surface, he is still undefeated in three races. And he is headed to the Kentucky Derby.
In his first race on a main track, Rock Your World (5-1) took the lead early and never gave it up Saturday in winning the Santa Anita Derby (G1) by 4 1/4 lengths, giving trainer John Sadler his first victory in the race since Sidney’s Candy in 2010.
Medina Spirit (4-5) was second, Dream Shake (9-2) third and Defunded (6-1) fourth. Rock Your World’s winning time was 1:49.17 for the 1 1/8 miles on a fast track following fractions of 22.42, 46.11, 1:10.64 and 1:36.27.
Umberto Rispoli rode to his first U.S. Grade 1 win after missing in 22 previous tries, twice finishing second by a neck last year on Smooth Like Strait. His last of seven Group 1 triumphs in Europe was in 2015.
By Candy Ride out of the Empire Maker mare Charm the Maker, Rock Your World had won a maiden sprint and a mile stakes on the Santa Anita turf before making the successful move Saturday to the main track.
With the race valued at 100-40-20-10, the victory meant an automatic berth in the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs on May 1.