ALTHOUGH CALIFORNIA CHROME FAILS IN TRIPLE CROWN BID, CALIFORNIA THOROUGHBRED INDUSTRY IS BIG WINNER AT GREAT RACE PLACE
ARCADIA, Calif. (June 8, 2014)–Although disappointment reigned late in the afternoon following California Chrome’s failed bid at a Triple Crown, Santa Anita’s first-ever experience as a live racing partner on Belmont Stakes Day was a resounding success on every level. With an on-track crowd of 31,208 wagering a hefty $5,270,850, Santa Anita’s total pari-mutuel reached a lofty $21,289,475.
“This was one of our biggest days of the year,” said Nate Newby, Santa Anita Vice President of Marketing. “Our on-track handle was very gratifying and there was a tremendous atmosphere throughout the facility. We want to thank all of our fans, horseman and employees for contributing to one of the most successful Belmont Stakes days in Southern California racing history and we’re looking forward to many more great Triple Crown moments in the future.”
A terrific adjunct to the Triple Crown fanfare was the spectacle provided by longtime fan Eddie Espinoza who stood in the Santa Anita Winner’s Circle as the Belmont Stakes was being run. With a crush of media observing, Espinoza, 72, from nearby Whittier, was in-line to win $1 million with a California Chrome victory, courtesy of Santa Anita’s inaugural Santa Anita Derby Millionaire Contest.
With his wife, Susan, and a large number of family and friends surrounding him, Espinoza took his once-in-a-life time miss with consummate class.
“It just wasn’t meant to be,” said Espinoza. “We’ve had a great run and I still love California Chrome. I want to thanks Art Sherman, Victor Espinoza, the owners and Santa Anita for this opportunity. We’ve been blessed.”
Santa Anita’s Belmont Day attendance and handle numbers were up significantly over last year’s figures at Hollywood Park, which closed for live racing on Dec. 22.
–Santa Anita’s on-track attendance on Saturday of 31,208 was up from last year’s 6,338, an increase of 392 percent.
–Santa Anita’s on-track handle of $5,270,850 was up over last year’s $1,928,673, an increase of 173 percent over last year.
–Santa Anita’s total handle of $21,289,475 was up significantly over last year’s $14,448,470, an increase of 47 percent.
Santa Anita’s 38-day Spring Meeting, which opened on April 25, will run through June 29.