SANTA ANITA STAKES SCHEDULE FINALIZED, NINE GRADE I RACES OFFERED, LED BY MALIBU ON DEC. 26

ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 18, 2011)—Led by the Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes on opening day, Dec. 26, Santa Anita Park has announced its 2011-12 stakes schedule which will include nine Grade I events over the course of its 79-day meet which will conclude April 22.

The Malibu will be one of four stakes offered on opening day, joined by the Grade II, $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes, the $100,000 California Breeders Champion Stakes and the $100,000 California Breeders Champion Stakes for fillies.

The Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 3 and the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 7, once again figure prominently among the meeting’s marquee events.

Also included on Santa Anita’s Grade I stakes roster are the La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs on Dec. 31, the $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes for older fillies and mares at seven furlongs on Jan. 28, the $250,000 Las Virgenes Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on March 3, the $300,000 Santa Margarita Stakes on March 3 and the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks for 3-year-old fillies on March 31.

“We’ve made several adjustments to our schedule and we feel this lineup is going to be very appealing to our horsemen,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Racing, Rick Hammerle. “We moved the La Brea from opening day to Jan. 31 and we added a couple of $200,000 California-bred stakes on March 31, the Echo Eddie for 3-year-olds and the Evening Jewel for 3-year-old fillies.

“Beyond our stakes schedule, we hope to be able to provide plenty of opportunities for 3-year-olds to break their maidens and to eventually be considered stakes-caliber horses. We’re optimistic that we’re going to have a good meet,” Hammerle added.

Significant changes to the stakes schedule were announced on Wednesday, as the Grade I Santa Monica Stakes and the Grade III Santa Ysabel, for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/16 miles, will head a total of four stakes on Sunshine Millions Day, Jan. 28.

Three $100,000 California-bred stakes, the Crystal Water for older horses at 1 1/16 miles, the Sensational Star for older horses at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course and the Valentine Dancer for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf, will complete the stakes lineup on a card that will offer more than $1 million in purse money.

Another change of note centers on an important prep for the Grade I Santa Anita Derby, the Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes, for 3-year-olds. Run in 2011 on Jan. 15 at 1 1/16 miles, the Sham will now be run on Jan. 7 at one mile.

Santa Anita’s traditional closing day feature, the iconic Grade II, $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap for older horses at 1 ¾ miles on turf will be carded as the meet’s final race on April 22.

First post time on opening day, Monday, Dec. 26, is 12 noon. For more information on the upcoming 2011-12 meeting, go to www.santaanita.com, or call (626) 574-RACE.

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