Santa Anita Opening Day 2018 Numbers And Statistics
Track’s 82nd Season Opens With Star Performances And Big Attendance/Handle Figures
By Margaret Ransom
Santa Anita’s 2018-2019 winter racing season got off to a tremendous start on Wednesday, with increased attendance and handle over a year ago. The 10-race card featured five stakes races, two being grade 1.
Attendance: A total of 41,323 racing fans turned out for the 10-race card on a beautiful, sunny mid-60s day. Opening-day attendance hasn’t dipped below 40,000 since 2013.
On-track handle was $3.4 million, up about a million from the $3.3 million handled in 2017. Inter-track wagering jumped to $2.5 million from $2.3 million a year ago, while out-of-state handle soared to over $14.4 million, up from more than $11.6 million last year.
Overall handle reached $20.491 million, easily up from the $17.2 million in 2017.
The Rainbow Pick 6 Jackpot carries over to Friday’s card with $95,000 in the pool.
Opening day racing highlights:
Recent jockey colony returnee Joel Rosario won two races and perennial local top jock Flavien Prat also won two, both stakes. Hall of Famer Mike Smith won two as well, including the featured Malibu Stakes. Del Mar’s leading jockey Drayden Van Dyke won one.
Trainers Jeff Mullins and John Sadler each saddled two winners. Mullins sent out foreign imports Amandine to win the Lady of Shamrock and River Boyne to take the Mathis Brothers Mile, leaving him undefeated in six starts over Santa Anita’s turf course. Amandine was Van Dyke’s single winner and River Boyne was the first of the two stakes wins for Prat.
The Sadler-trained Gift Box, owned by Hronis Racing, won the San Antonio Stakes in his first California start (and his first since March) since being acquired by his new connections privately from W.S. Farish and trainer Chad Brown after an allowance/optional claiming win nine months ago. Gift Box’s sire, Twirling Candy, won the 2010 Malibu and he was also trained by Sadler and ridden by Rosario and still owns the stakes record of 1:19.70.
Sadler and Hronis Racing also partnered to win the opener with Twentytwentyvision.
Spiced Perfection upset the heavily favored and
previously undefeated Dream Tree to win the La Brea. The Brian Koriner-trained daughter of Smiling Tiger was bred in California and keyed a Cal-bred exacta with runner-up Hot Autumn. She is owned by Michael Faber’s Dare to Dream Stable LLC.
Pegram, Watson and Weitman’s McKinzie earned his second career grade 1 by taking the Malibu Stakes by 4 ¾ lengths under Mike Smith. He has now won five of seven career starts with one second.
The victory provided his Hall of Fame trainer, Bob Baffert, a third win in the race, his previous victories coming with Shakin It Up and The Factor.