O’Neill Hoping The Great One Can ‘Rebound’ In Santa Anita Derby

Doug O’Neill hopes The Great One rebounds from his disappointing fifth-place finish behind recently sidelined Life Is Good in the Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes on March 6 when he runs in the Grade 1 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby next Saturday, April 3.

Named for NHL superstar Wayne Gretzky, The Great One was coming off a smashing 14-length maiden win prior to the San Felipe, in which he finished almost 17 lengths behind Life Is Good after bumping a rival at the start and going four-wide into the stretch before weakening.

“The Great One is scheduled to work tomorrow and as long as that goes well and he comes out of it in good shape, that’s the plan,” said O’Neil, who posted back-to-back Santa Anita Derby victories with eventual Kentucky Derby winner I’ll Have Another in 2012 and Goldencents in 2013.

“Abel (Cedillo) will be back on him and we’re excited about getting another chance against these caliber of horses,” O’Neill said. ‘We’re real happy with The Great One and think he can rebound and run a big race.”

Team O’Neill obviously was delighted with Hot Rod Charlie’s dominant triumph in the Louisiana Derby on March 20. The son of Oxbow will train up to the Run for the Roses, which the trainer also won in 2016 with Nyquist, 2020’s leading freshman sire.

“He’s back here at Santa Anita and looks great,” O’Neill said of Hot Rod Charlie. “We’re optimistic about the first Saturday in May with him.”

The Runhappy Santa Anita Derby headlines six stakes next Saturday, four of them graded and two showcasing California-bred or sired runners.

In addition to the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, they are the Grade 2 Santa Anita Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles; the Grade 2 Royal Heroine for fillies and mares four and up at one mile on turf; and the Grade 3 Providencia Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

Also, two Golden State Series races, the $150,000 Echo Eddie Stakes for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs and the $150,000 Evening Jewel Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs.

In all, the six stakes offer $1,750,000 in purse money.

The post O’Neill Hoping The Great One Can ‘Rebound’ In Santa Anita Derby appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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