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A comprehensive stakes schedule spanning six months will be keynoted by six graded stakes, three of them Grade I events, when Santa Anita Park's Winter/Spring Meet opens on Sunday, December 26.
Three Grade I, $300,000 stakes, the Runhappy Malibu Stakes, the La Brea Stakes and American Oaks, along with three Grade II, $200,000 Stakes, the Mathis Brothers Mile, the San Antonio and the San Gabriel, will highlight a blockbuster opening day program that will begin at 12 noon PT.
Santa Anita's Winter/Spring Meet will run through June 19 and will include a total of 94 stakes, 59 of them graded, with 10 Grade I offerings including the $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 9.
"We have added a significant amount of money to our stakes program along with some minor changes that I think trainers and owners, not only in California, but around the country, will appreciate," said Chris Merz, Santa Anita Director of Racing and Racing Secretary. "We have a lot of positive momentum going in California right now and these enhancements to the stakes schedule add to it. We would like to thank our partners at the TOC for getting behind this to help make California racing all that it can and should be."
America's longest continually run "hundred grander," the Grade I, $650,000 Santa Anita Handicap, which will be contested for the 85th time, along with the Grade I, $500,000 Beholder Mile and the Grade I, $500,000 Frank E. Kilroe Mile, will headline another tremendous card on March 5.
Along with those three Grade I stakes, one of the nation's most important Derby preps, the Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe, the Grade II, $200,000 Buena Vista and the Grade II, $200,000 San Carlos Stakes will all be run on March 5 as well.
The Santa Anita Derby, which has now produced 20 winners of the Kentucky Derby, will be complemented by the Grade II, $400,000 Santa Anita Oaks and a pair of $150,000 California-bred stakes, the Echo Eddie and the Evening Jewel, on April 9.
Three Grade I stakes, the $400,000 Gamely, the $400,000 Hollywood Gold Cup and the $500,000 Shoemaker Mile, will highlight a festive Memorial Day card on May 30 as the Winter/Spring meet "turns for home," with three racing weeks remaining.
Closing weekend, June 18 and 19, will offer a wide variety of six stakes, with a pair of $100,000 sprints for 2-year-olds, the Fasig-Tipton Futurity and Fasig Tipton Debutante being run on June 18 along with the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria for fillies and mares.
On closing day, June 19, the iconic Grade III, $125,000 San Juan Capistrano, for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and three quarters on turf, along with the Grade III, $100,000 American at one mile on grass and the $100,000 Possibly Perfect, at a mile and one half on turf, figure to bring a dynamic ending to the meet.
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