Santa Anita Park
, which will again host the two-day Breeders’ Cup
World Championships on Nov. 1 & 2, concluded its 76th winter/spring
meeting on Sunday with overall handle up four percent. The increase
was fueled, in part, by strong gains in Account Deposit Wagering (ADW)
handle through its 71-day meet which began on Dec. 26.
Santa Anita Derby Day, April 6, proved to be the high-point of
the meet, as an on-track crowd of 33,005 wagered $4,047,710, which
contributed to a total pari-mutuel handle of $19,897,306—a $2- million
increase over last year.
Trainer Doug O’Neill won his second consecutive Santa Anita
Derby, as Goldencents, romped home by 1 ¼ lengths. Owned by NCAA
Champion basketball coach Rick Pitino, Glenn Sorgenstein, Josh Kaplan
and Dave Kenney, and ridden by Kevin Krigger, Goldencents will attempt
to follow in the steps of the O’Neill-trained I’ll Have Another and
become the 10th horse to win both the Santa Anita Derby and the Kentucky
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert finished the meet with 38 wins
to take his third consecutive Santa Anita training title and record 11th
overall. Baffert began the meet with two wins on opening day and
continued to build on the momentum as he prevailed in a close contest
over fellow Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer, who finished second with
35 wins and O’Neill, who ended up third with 34.
Baffert’s biggest win came in the 76th running of the Santa Anita
Handicap when favored Game On Dude, who was also named horse of the
meeting, romped by a record 7 ¾ lengths to become just the fourth horse
to ever win the Big ’Cap twice-- this time under jockey Mike Smith for
Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride LLC, the Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable
LLC and Bernard Schiappa.
Jockey Rafael Bejarano returned to the top of the riding
standings to win his fourth title as Santa Anita’s leading rider with
93, 31 more than second-place finisher Edwin Maldonado. Bejarano had
finished second in the riding standings the previous two seasons.
For the second consecutive year, Kosta Hronis’ Hronis Racing led all owners with by races won, with 11 victories.
This Santa Anita season was also marked by several very
successful on-track activities designed to broaden the track’s
reputation and brand as not only the crown jewel of Thoroughbred racing,
but as an important member of the Southern California entertainment
More than 50 young women competed to be among the finalists to
represent California in the first-ever Ms. Racing Queen pageant held at
Gulfstream Park in Fort Lauderdale. Tatiana Schoeppler, who resides in
Los Angeles, was named Ms. Racing Queen and she won the top prize of
$100,000. She will spend the next 12 months as an ambassador for
Thoroughbred racing around the country.
The 2nd Annual HRTV Film Festival at Santa Anita brought together
nearly three dozen veteran and aspiring filmmakers to create 5-minute
documentaries themed “A Day at the Races.” Kramer Productions’ film
“One,” which chronicled sports anchor Jim Rome’s star filly
Mizdirection, won the $10,000 first prize. Miguel Mochess and Cuatro
Mascaras Productions’ film “And Away They Go” won the $10,000 Fan
Santa Anita will be open for simulcast wagering during the
upcoming Betfair Hollywood Park Meeting, which gets underway on
Thursday, with first post time at 1 p.m.
Opening day for Santa Anita’s 2013 Autumn Meet is Sept 27.