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Breeders' Cup 2017

1938 Santa Anita Handicap

3/5/1938, Santa Anita Park
1 1/4 m (Dirt)
3+ M
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Older Comments about the 1938 Santa Anita Handicap...

The 1938 Santa Anita Handicap was perhaps the greatest edition of the race ever run. Set on a clear, warm day, no less than 18 horses marched to the post. The favorite for the race was none other than Seabiscuit, the rags to riches stallion. At odds of 19 to 10, he was a solid favorite, and deserving too in the handicapper’s point of view; he was scheduled to carry 130 pounds to the post, the high weight in the field allowed. Stagehand was the exact opposite. Second choice at 36 to 10, carrying just 100 pounds, the lowest weight in the field possible at the time the weights were given, he was not even a maiden. I will remind you at this time that Stagehand, being a late March foal, was still a two year old at this point in his career. Seabiscuit, born in 1933, had quite the advantage on Stagehand, in experience (especially in this race, having lost by a nose in the prior edition,) but also in strength. For a horse to beat Seabiscuit, even for Stagehand to do it, the horse would need to be unnaturally talented, “great”. The race was not only about Seabiscuit and Stagehand however. Pompoon and Sceneshifter, the second and third choices, were meeting again. Pompoon had been firing bullets on the east coast and it was clear that if there was anytime to bet him, this was it. Both had run unsuccessfully against War Admiral the year before. And then there was the horse who had slayed Seabiscuit just two weeks before - Aneroid. at 83 to 10, he was the fourth choice. Top Row, who won the second edition of the race was back too with the shipper Whichee. George Woolf knew which horse he’d be watching, though. He planned to wait until Stagehand, in the white cap, made his move. Then he would pounce, but only after Wall and the derby winner had moved first. Now Earl Sande and Maxwell Howard knew that to beat Seabiscuit, it would take not only ability from the horse, but also a keen jockey to guide and direct the horse home. They called upon Nick Wall, and shipped him west from Hialeah. Seeing as Jack Westrope, Stagehand’s regular rider, could not make the weight of 100 pounds, there were no hurt feelings and he was selected for the ride on Sceneshifter. It did not hurt, either, that Wall had ridden Esposa to victory over Seabiscuit last November. The horses were in the gate and off in three minutes. Whichee was fastest out of the gate with Stagehand, surprisingly, out breaking his brother. Seabiscuit was away clean before Count Atlas promptly veered in, almost knocking George Woolf off of his mount. Rosengarten seized initiative and rushed Aneroid to the front with Whichee challenging him to the inside. Primulus rounded the three horse pair who had already seperated themselves from Leslie Comb’s Woodberry. Stagehand and Sceneshifter were at this point moving as a pair, ninth and tenth respectively while Woolf and Seabiscuit lay on the outside after the hard break, twelfth and following the black and white silks of Howard’s horses. The quarter went up in 22.80, blazing for the 10 furlongs they were expected to field. Whichee and Aneroid blazed through a half in an eye popping 46.20. Now Sceneshifter and Westrope made their move, but unbeknownst to Woolf, just before the race Westrope and Wall had switched caps. Sceneshifter know wore Stagehand’s white cap while Stagehand had the dark cap. Woolf saw the white cap and saw his chance out of the pack he was surrounded in. He urged Seabiscuit on at the half pole, fearing that if he did not send him now he would never catch Stagehand. Woolf did not know that the horse we was passing was Stagehand, directly to his inside. Seabiscuit responded, and the pair overtook Sceneshifter easily, then had no trouble gliding past a tired out Whichee and Aneroid. Seabiscuit had opened up 1 3/4 lengths and looked a winner just two furlongs from home. The clockers who had caught him beginning his move four furlongs ago stopped their watches at 44.20, a good 14 lengths faster than the current world record. B
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  • Sullivan · Pretty good, Stagehand cannot be nominated without undergoing acceptance by a committee which meets only on even numbered years. So next year the Historical Board will decide if he becomes a nominee and it is out of my hands from there. · 1538 days ago
  • Mary Z. · "meets only on even numbered years". Oh, my, how (one of these synonyms: http://thesaurus.com/browse/exclusive) is that? · 1538 days ago
Jack Westrope assigned to ride Stagehand but couldn't make 100 lbs, threw in Nick Wall
Have two full brothers ever faced off in such a prestigious race? Sceneshifter must've been surprised to see his younger brother infront and winning his first race
  • Show All 5 Comments
  • CauseForConcern · Mary, I believe you beat me to the punch(as usual). BTW, I only remember Slew's Tizzy, cause I played him in the Lexington Stakes, as the longest shot on the board @ 40-1, and he came in and won. Ironically, that particular race also had the 2nd longest of the race run 2nd(I think it was something like 38-1), and was trained by, none other than, D. Wayne Lukas. He's everywhere!!!!! He's everywhere!!!!! · 1614 days ago
  • CauseForConcern · To further add to the race info, it was the 2007 Lexington Stakes, and Lukas' horse that ran second, was Starbase. The longest two shots on the board teamed together to produce a $1,002.20 exacta. And, all I did was, bet Slew's Tizzy across the board(should've, could've wheeled him on top!!!). Still, nice payoff. · 1614 days ago

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