Sharp Samurai should emerge on top in Twilight Derby

The Grade II, $200,000 Twilight Derby headlines the action on the final Saturday card of the Santa Anita fall meet. The 1 1/8-mile turf clash drew an accomplished field of 11. Going as Race 9 on an 11-race program, post time is estimated at 7:19 p.m. EST. Be sure to take part in FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game this weekend!

#6 SHARP SAMURAI (7-2, morning line favorite) made it three in a row when he captured the Del Mar Derby last time out. He went five-wide under Gary Stevens but it didn’t matter, as he bested #3 BIG SCORE and #4 BOWIE’S HERO, two of the principle contenders in this year’s Twilight Derby. SHARP SAMURAI isn’t just a Del Mar wonder either, as he’s 2-for-3 at Santa Anita, including a win from earlier this year. Most importantly, SHARP SAMURAI is a perfect 3-for-3 at the 1 1/8-mile distance. His customary late run should be good enough to land top honors on Saturday.

#3 BIG SCORE (4-1) closed quickly but had to settle for second in the Del Mar Derby. He’s dropped his last four starts but hit the board in three of those, all of which were stakes. Flavien Prat will be in the irons.

#4 BOWIE’S HERO (5-1) had his rider lose the whip and was in tight while rallying for third in the Del Mar Derby. He gets a jockey upgrade to Kent Desormeaux as he looks to replicate what he did in the Singletary Stakes when last seen at Santa Anita. That was an impressive off-the-bench victory in which he stumbled at the start before rallying six-wide in the stretch.

The play: $5 exacta 6/3,4 ($10)

DFJ analysis: Flavien Prat has just six mounts on Saturday but makes for that number with quality. He’ll get the call on comebacking Hoppertunity in the Comma To The Top Stakes earlier in the day before getting a leg up on BIG SCORE in the Twlight Derby. Prat’s been slumping lately but could use Saturday as a confidence-booster as the Breeders’ Cup draws closer.

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