Racing Returns To Santa Anita Park On Tuesday
By Margaret Ransom
New Wagering Menu, New Races on Tap For 81st Season
Santa Anita Park kicks off its annual winter/spring season on a Tuesday this year and while the actual date for opening day of the highly anticipated season remains the same, a lot has changed at the Great Race Place for her 81st season of thoroughbred racing. A total of 62 stakes, including nine Grade 1s, are on tap during the 60-day meeting, which concludes on April 8.
The 2017-2018 stakes schedule is rich with Kentucky Derby (GI) prep races as well. Led by the $1 million Santa Anita Derby (GI), which is worth 100 Road-to-the-Kentucky-Derby points to the winner, on closing day, the list of sophomore preps also includes the Jan. 6 Sham Stakes (GIII), worth 10 points to the winner, the Feb. 3 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (GII), also worth 10 points to the winner, and the March 10 San Felipe Stakes (GII), which guarantees 50 Kentucky Derby points to the winner.
Overall, 17 winners of the Santa Anita Derby have gone on to wear the garland of roses in Louisville on the first Saturday in May, the most recent being 2104 winner California Chrome, who is a two-time Horse of the Year and was once North America’s richest racehorse of all time.
This year, the historic Santa Anita Handicap will be worth $600,000 and the 1 ¼-mile event has been scheduled for March 10. Since its inception in 1935 during the Southern California track’s inaugural season, the winner’s list for the signature event is nothing short of legendary. Seabiscuit captured the 1940 renewal after falling just short in his two previous attempts. Round Table, Prove It, Lucky Debonair, Ack Ack, Triple Bend, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, Broad Brush, Alysheba, Best Pal, Free House and Shared Belief are just some of the other names to have reached the storied winner’s circle. But perhaps… (more)