In deciding to postpone the traditional day-after-Christmas opening day card due to rain in the forecast at Santa Anita Park, track officials also ensured a loaded Saturday slate of stakes races.
Five stakes originally scheduled for Dec. 26 will shift to Dec. 28, which already had a Grade 1 event of its own on the calendar. The first winter season not to kick off on its traditional date since 1976 should be a memorable -- and dry -- program.
The revised schedule:
• $300,000 Malibu Stakes (G1) for 3-year-olds at seven furlongs
• $300,000 La Brea Stakes (G1) for 3-year-old fillies at seven furlongs
• $300,000 American Oaks (G1) for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/4 miles on turf
• $200,000 San Antonio Stakes (G2) for 3-year-olds and up at 1 1/16 miles
• $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (G2) for 3-year-olds at a mile on turf
• $100,000 Robert J. Frankel Stakes (G3) for females 3 and up at 1 1/8 miles on turf
• $75,000 Lady of Shamrock Stakes for 3-year-old fillies at a mile on turf
Among the horses set to appear in those races: Omaha Beach, Roadster, Instagrand, Bellafina and Gift Box, among other fan favorites.
Given that super Saturday of sorts lined up, it's likely worth the extra two days of waiting.
As of Sunday, the National Weather Service calls for a 50% chance of rain on Christmas Day in Arcadia, Calif., with precipitation "likely" overnight. Concerns with Santa Anita officials were both the prospects of scratches in main track events and having to take races off the turf. This is only the beginning, after all, of a season that runs through June.
Entries will be taken Monday for the rescheduled opening day card. Santa Anita was also slated to race Friday. The $75,000 Eddie Logan Stakes will move to Sunday, Dec. 29, and run alongside of the $75,000 Blue Norther.
See the full Santa Anita Park stakes schedule.