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Home / Neighborhood / San Gabriel Valley / Arcadia Weekly / SANTA ANITA STAKES SCHEDULE FINALIZED, $1 MILLION SANTA ANITA DERBY HEADS 46 GRADED STAKES

SANTA ANITA STAKES SCHEDULE FINALIZED, $1 MILLION SANTA ANITA DERBY HEADS 46 GRADED STAKES

by Staff
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Santa Anita Park, which opens for its 74th winter/spring season on Dec. 26, will offer a blockbuster stakes program featuring 46 graded stakes, headed by the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9. The Derby is but one of a total of nine Grade I events that are scheduled to be run during Santa Anita’s 76-day meeting which will conclude on April 17.
Santa Anita will offer two prestigious Grade I races at seven furlongs on opening day: the $250,000 Malibu Stakes, for 3-year-olds and the $250,000 La Brea Stakes, for 3-year-old fillies. The Grade II, $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf and the $100,000 California Breeders Champion Stakes, for 2-year-olds at seven furlongs, will also be a part of a huge opening day program.
“We’ve added $450,000 to our 3-year-old program, which makes Santa Anita the nation’s most attractive avenue to the Triple Crown,” said Santa Anita Racing Secretary Rick Hammerle. “Along with the news of increased purses, and due in large part to the fact we are returning to a natural dirt main track, we’re getting very positive response from horsemen and fans from all over the country.”
Hammerle also noted that MI Developments’ (MID) recently announced Preakness 5.5 (million) incentive program should prove to be of direct benefit to those racing at Santa Anita.
“The Preakness 5.5 is going to be a big plus for us,” said Hammerle. “It’s going to incentivize people to run in the Santa Anita Derby and in our Derby preps.”
Hammerle and Santa Anita Director of Racing Mike Harlow believe the Preakness 5.5 provides ample incentive for horsemen to run in the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 12 and/or in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 12, en route to the Santa Anita Derby.
“If you run in and win either the Lewis or the San Felipe and go on to win the Santa Anita Derby, you’ve got a shot a huge payday,” said Harlow. “By running in and winning either of those two preps and then winning the Santa Anita Derby, you’re eligible to win the $5.5 million bonus, if you win the (Grade I) Preakness.
“When you factor in that we anticipate a 25 percent increase in overnight purses, which gets us to a total distribution of about $425,000 a day, people are seeing, hearing and recognizing that Santa Anita is going to be a great place to run this winter and spring,” said Harlow.
Other important dates on Santa Anita’s stakes calendar include the Sunshine Millions on Jan. 29, which features bicoastal competition between Florida-breds and California-breds. Santa Anita and its sister property, Gulfstream Park, will each host three Sunshine Millions races.
Santa Anita will run two $300,000 stakes on Sunshine Millions Day, the Sunshine Millions Turf, presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino, and the Sunshine Millions Distaff. The Sunshine Millions Sprint will offer a purse of $200,000.
The Grade I, $250,000 Santa Monica Handicap, for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs, will be run on Jan. 30.
The following Saturday, Feb. 5, 3-year-old fillies will have an opportunity to run in the Grade I Las Virgenes Stakes.
Santa Anita will present the 74th running of the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 5. The Grade I, $300,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf), and the Gr. I, $250,000 Santa Anita Oaks will also be run on Big ’Cap Day.

The Grade I, $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes, which is where the mighty Zenyatta made her 2010 debut, will be run at 1 1/8 miles on March 12.
On April 9, the Gr. I Santa Anita Derby will highlight a program that includes three other graded events, the Gr. II Arcadia Stakes, the Grade II Providencia Stakes and the Grade III Las Cienegas Handicap.
The meet will finish with Santa Anita’s traditional closing day feature, the prestigious Grade II, $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap, for older horses at 1 ¾ miles, beginning atop Santa Anita’s legendary hillside turf course.

Photos by Terry Miller

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