TRACK’S SPRING MEETING TO FEATURE LIVE RACING FOR FIRST TIME THROUGHOUT TRIPLE CROWN, FREE ADMISSION TO INFIELD OFFERED EACH WEEKEND THROUGH JUNE 29
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 20, 2014)–Santa Anita Park’s 77th Winter Meeting drew to a close on Sunday, with the storied track’s overall handle showing a four percent increase over a year ago and expectations high as The Great Race Place readies for its first-ever Spring Meet, which will open on Friday, April 25 and run through Sunday, June 29. Santa Anita will also host an unprecedented third straight edition of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships Oct. 31 and Nov. 1.
Santa Anita will be offering a variety of new innovations when its Spring Meet opens on April 25, including a 3 p.m. twilight first post on Fridays and free General Admission to and parking in its Infield Area each weekend through June 29. Additionally, two dollar rolling Daily Doubles with a low 18 percent takeout will be offered throughout the meet.
Led by superstar sophomore California Chrome, Santa Anita Derby Day was a smash hit as a number of Santa Anita’s recent state of the art renovations were on full display and 35,241 on-track fans contributed to an overall pari-mutuel handle of $22,542,443, a 13 percent increase over a year ago.
Trained by Art Sherman, ridden by Victor Espinoza and owned and bred by Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California-bred California Chrome followed up brilliant victories in the Cal Cup Derby on Jan. 25 and in the Grade II San Felipe Stakes on March 8 with an emphatic 5 ¼ length win in the $1 million Santa Anita Derby, thus stamping himself as the horse to beat in the Kentucky Derby. Should he win, he would become the first Cal-bred to win the Run for the Roses since Decidedly in 1962.
Bob Baffert sent the venerable 7-year-old gelding Game On Dude out for an unprecedented third win in the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 8, as the white-haired wonder saddled his fifth overall winner in America’s longest continually run hundred grander.
In a thrilling finish to Sunday’s ninth and final race, John Sadler’s Bench Light was up to beat Jerry Hollendorfer’s Husband’s Folly by a neck, resulting in a Hollendorfer/Sadler dead heat atop the trainer standings at 34 wins. Sadler was also the meet’s leading stakes winning trainer with eight added-money wins.
Peruvian sensation Rafael Bejarano won his fifth Golden Whip Award as Santa Anita’s runaway Winter Meet leading rider. Bejarano, 32, finished the meet with 93 wins, some 39 clear of runner-up Joe Talamo. Bejarano also finished with nine stakes wins, one behind Gary Stevens, who had 10.
Leonard Lavin’s Glen Hill Farm led all owners with 15 wins. Glen Hill’s horses are trained by Tom Proctor, who is assisted by Aimee Dollase.
For the first time ever, Santa Anita will be open for live racing on Kentucky Derby Day, May 3, Preakness Stakes Day, May 17, and Belmont Stakes Day, June 7. With the exception of Kentucky Oaks Day, Friday May 2, first post time on all Fridays during the upcoming Spring Meet will be at 3 p.m.
For more information on upcoming promotions, Santa Anita’s Spring Meet and the 2014 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, please visit santaanita.com, or call (626) 574-RACE.