Defunded is the 7-2 favorite for Saturday’s 86th running of the $500,000 Grade 1 Santa Anita Handicap, one of North America’s signature races for older horses.
The 5-year-old gelding trained by Bob Baffert is coming off a second-place finish in his last start, the $3 million Grade 1 Pegasus World Cup Invitational Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park in Hallandale Beach, Florida, following back-to-back victories in the $150,000 Grade 3 Native Diver Stakes Nov. 27 at Del Mar and $300,000 Grade 1 Awesome Again Stakes Oct. 1 at Santa Anita Park.
Defunded will be seeking his third graded stakes victory. He has five victories, four second-place finishes and one third-place finish in his 14 career starts with earnings of $1,168,100.
Defunded will carry the high weight of 125 pounds in the expected field of 11 4-year-olds and up and will be ridden by Juan Hernandez for the first time.
Warrant and Proxy are the co-second choices at 4-1.
The Santa Anita Handicap is the final race on Saturday’s 12-race card at Santa Anita Park, with an approximate post time of 5:31 p.m. The race will be televised by FanDuel TV.
There will be a mandatory payout of the 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot with Santa Anita Park officials projecting the pool to be $3 million.
The card also includes three other graded stakes races — the $200,000 Grade 2 Buena Vista Stakes for fillies and mares 4 years old and up; the $400,000 Grade 2 San Felipe Stakes for 3 year olds which offers points toward qualifying for the Kentucky Derby; and the $500,000 Grade 1 Frank E. Kilroe Mile for 4 year olds and up.
The San Felipe Stakes will be televised by CNBC as part of its “Road to the Kentucky Derby” series. Its approximate post time is 2:27 p.m.
Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. with a noon first post time. There will be a Big Cap hat giveaway, craft beer and cider festival and Family Fun Zone and Fiesta de Santa Anita in the infield.