ARCADIA, Calif. (March 5, 2016)–Trainer Jimmy Jerkens’ highly accomplished Effinex has been assigned high weight of 123 pounds for the 79th running of the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Handicap, to be contested at a mile and a quarter next Saturday, March 12.
Runner-up to Triple Crown Champion American Pharoah in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Oct. 31, Effinex, a 5-year-old New York-bred horse by Mineshaft, was a three quarter length winner of his most recent start, the Grade I, 1 1/8 miles Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs Nov. 27. Effinex is owned by Tri-Bone Stables.
North America’s longest continuously run “hundred grander,” the Big ‘Cap, for 4-year-olds and up, was first run on Feb. 23, 1935, and was won by Azucar, who was ridden by the legendary George “The Iceman” Woolf.
Won last year by trainer Jerry Hollendorfer’s Shared Belief, the Santa Anita Handicap has been won by some of the greatest horses in racing history, including; Seabiscuit (1940), Noor (1950), Round Table (1958), Hill Rise (1965), Lucky Debonair (1966), Ack Ack (1971), Cougar II (1973), Affirmed (1979), Spectacular Bid (1980), John Henry (1981 & 82), Alysheba (1988) and Tiznow (2001).
Won a record 11 times by jockey Bill Shoemaker, the all-time leading Big ‘Cap trainer is Charlie Whittingham, as the Bald Eagle saddled nine winners, four more than Bob Baffert.