The Santa Anita Derby is an American Grade 1 thoroughbred horse race for three-year-olds run each April at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California and carries a purse of $1 million. Inaugurated in 1935, it is considered the most important West Coast stepping-stone to the Kentucky Derby. Since its inception, six Santa Anita Derby winners have gone on to win the Kentucky Derby.
Now run at a distance of 1 1/8 miles (9 Furlongs), for the first three years it was 1 1/16 miles, and at 1 1/4 miles in 1947. Until 2008 the race had been run on dirt surface. Starting in 2008 the race has been contested on Cushion Track (2008) and Pro-Ride (2009) artificial surfaces. The 2010 running is scheduled to be contested on Pro-Ride.
Prep races to the Santa Anita Derby include the San Rafael Stakes, San Miguel Stakes, San Felipe Stakes, Sham Stakes, San Vicente Stakes and the Santa Catalina Stakes, all run at Santa Anita Park.