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May 26, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (May 26, 2010)—A Celebration of Life will be held for longtime Santa Anita employee Bonita Gould on June 2, at Peppers Mexican Restaurant in Arcadia, beginning at 4 p.m.

April 18, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 18, 2010)—Santa Anita’s 75th anniversary meeting ended on a high note Sunday as a crowd of 17,345 attended on-track and witnessed an action-packed day of racing that included the 71st running of the prestigious San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap, which was won by Bourbon Bay ridden by Rafael Bejarno. The San Juan Capistrano was carded as the 10th and final race, resulting in a crescendo-like finish to a meet that endured economic and weather-related challenges.

“It was great to finish-up like we did today,” said Santa Anita President Ron Charles. “The San Juan Capistrano was a great way for us to go out and despite the fact we faced a number of issues over the course of the meet, it went very quickly.”

Santa Anita continues to be America’s number-one winter racing venue in terms of all source handle, on-track handle and on-track attendance.

“We knew in December that we would be facing significant challenges,” added Charles. “The bad economy, especially here in California, is an obvious reason for some of the declines, but we also must acknowledge that the problems we continue to have with drainage on the main track and a reduced horse inventory definitely contributed as well.”

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 18, 2010) – In one of the closest votes in recent memory, queen of the turf Tuscan Evening outpolled Santa Anita Derby winner Sidney’s Candy and undefeated Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap winner Zenyatta to be named Horse of the Meet in Santa Anita’s annual Media Poll.

Tuscan Evening, a 5-year-old Irish-bred mare owned by William de Burgh and trained by Jerry Hollendorfer, completed a graded stakes “Grand Slam” by winning four of those events at the meet, at distances from about 6 1/2 furlongs on turf to a mile and a quarter on turf.

April 17, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 17, 2010) – Escalating in distance with each of four graded stakes victories on turf, Tuscan Evening conquered 1 ¼ miles and three outclassed opponents in Saturday’s Grade II, $150,000 Santa Barbara Handicap to emerge as a leading Horse of the Meet candidate as Santa Anita’s 75th anniversary season nears the finish line.

As the 3-10 favorite in the 62nd running of the Santa Barbara for fillies and mares, the 5-year-old Irish-bred mare carried 124 pounds including jockey Rafael Bejarano to a one-length victory over General Consensus while running the distance in 2:00.22.

Her accomplishment of four graded stakes wins during a Santa Anita race meet has been exceeded only by the five that Hall of Famer Round Table won in 1958. The stakes won by Round Table would not become graded until the grading system was instituted in 1974.

April 16, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 16, 2010) – She may be no Zenyatta, but Devine Actress did her best to emulate the superstar mare Friday when she ran down pace-setter Dance to My Tune in the final sixteenth of Santa Anita’s 30th running of the $58,300 Santa Lucia Handicap to win by one-half length while clocked in 1:42.47 for 1 1/16 miles.

At 8-1 the longest shot in a field of five, the 5-year-old daughter of Theatrical provided jockey Tyler Baze with his third victory of the afternoon while notching her third win in six starts and her second in as many tries over Santa Anita’s main track.

Just as she had done when a 51-1 shot in the Grade I Santa Margarita Handicap almost five weeks ago, Dance to My Tune led well into the stretch after setting comfortable early fractions under jockey Martin Garcia. Zenyatta eventually ran past her in the Santa Margarita to score by 1 ½ lengths, but Dance to My Tune gamely held on for the place.

April 15, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 15, 2010) – Welken, who doesn’t seem to know how to run a bad race, was triumphant for the sixth time in her last eight starts Thursday when scoring a one-length victory over pace-setter Zilla in Santa Anita’s $52,800 allowance feature for fillies and mares at 1 1/8 miles on turf.

With Mike Smith in the saddle, the 6-year-old mare gradually closed from fifth in the field of seven to overtake Zilla at the sixteenth pole and win going away in 1:46.72. Prytania closed from last to finish third, a length behind the runner-up.

“For this mare to get a mile-and-an-eighth, she needs to be covered up, European-style,” noted Hall of Fame jockey Smith. “This was a great level for her today. And right now if she gets the right pace to sit in behind, she’s got a helluva turn of foot.”

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 15, 2010)—Former WBC Super Bantamweight Champion Israel Vazquez, who is preparing for an epic showdown with arch-rival Rafael Marquez on May 22, will be at Santa Anita on Saturday to present the trophy for the Gr.

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 15, 2010)—Santa Anita Park’s 75th anniversary season will come to a close this Sunday and fans will be treated to a jockey autograph session in the East Paddock Gardens from 11 a.m. to 12 noon.

April 14, 2010

ARCADIA, Calif. (April 14, 2010) – Concord Point, whose blazing career debut last December for trainer Bob Baffert had suggested Triple Crown potential, recouped some of his earlier promise Wednesday with a gritty 1 ¼-length victory in Santa Anita’s $46,676 allowance feature for 3-year-olds at 6 ½ furlongs.

With jockey Martin Garcia gaining his third win of the afternoon, Concord Point gamely withstood late challenges by Royce and favored Lions Story to run the distance in 1:15.38 while racing without blinkers for the first time in three starts. Royce nosed out Lions Story for the place.

“I’ve got to get him to relax a little bit,” Baffert said in explaining his colt’s equipment change. Following a maiden win in 1:15 for 6 ½ furlongs, Concord Point went to the sidelines for seven weeks before returning to run fourth as the 1-2 favorite in a sprint on Feb. 12.

“That was a throw out,” said Baffert. “He broke a little slow and took off.”

The gray son of Tapit was much more focused and resolute on Wednesday. He dueled with longshot Malone Slam for the early lead, but the fractions were manageable: 22.25, 45.26 and 1:09.22.