Officials at Santa Anita Park announced a 10% bump in daily purse totals for its 2020-21 Winter/Spring Meet, lifting the daily average purse money available to more than $533,000 at the Southern California track.
This is significant for the iconic track. Unlike many other tracks, Santa Anita doesn’t have a casino fueling its purses. Instead, the track’s purses come from a percentage of handle wagered.
“Building Santa Anita’s aggressive overnight purse schedule is a reflection of the confidence that we have in California racing, even in the midst of a pandemic,” said Craig Fravel, the CEO of The Stronach Group’s 1st Racing in a release. “Nothing has been easy about this past year, so we are thankful to the horsemen who have continued to support our program on a daily basis.”
Overnight purses create the backbone of horse racing. They comprise the payouts for the maiden, claimer, and allowance races that account for 85% of the country’s races. For those races, Santa Anita built a total purse of more than $43 million.
Santa Anita Park’s Stakes Remain Strong
As for stakes races, Santa Anita puts up more than $15 million in purses for its 95 stakes events — 60 of which are graded. Ten of the graded stakes are Grade 1s, including three on its traditional Dec. 26 opening day. Those are the Malibu Stakes for 3-year-old sprinters, the La Brea Stakes for 3-year-old filly sprinters, and the American Oaks for 3-year-old fillies.
The Santa Anita Derby, one of the premier Kentucky Derby preps, is April 3. That Grade 1 race produced 19 Kentucky Derby winners, including Authentic this year.
A month earlier is the first of two marquee races for older horses: the venerable Santa Anita Handicap is March 6. The second older horse spotlight – the Hollywood Gold Cup – is May 31.
Santa Anita Park-Key Winter/Spring Stakes Races
|Dec. 26, 2020||Malibu Stakes||I||7 furlongs||3-Year-Old Males|
|Dec. 26, 2020||La Brea Stakes||I||7 furlongs||3-Year-Old Fillies|
|Dec. 26, 2020||American Oaks||I||1 1/16 miles||3-Year-Old Fillies|
|March 6, 2021||Santa Anita Handicap||I||1 1/4 miles||4-Year-Olds and Up|
|March 6, 2021||Kilroe Mile||I||1 mile (Turf)||4-Year-Olds and Up|
|March 6, 2021||Beholder Mile||I||1 mile||4-Year-Olds and Up Fillies/Mares|
|April 3, 2021||Santa Anita Derby||I||1 1/8 miles||3-Year-Olds|
|May 31, 2021||Hollywood Gold Cup||I||1 1/4 miles||3-Year-Olds and Up|
|May 31, 2021||Shoemaker Mile||I||1 mile (Turf)||3-Year-Olds and Up|
|May 31, 2021||Gamely Stakes||I||1 1/8 miles (Turf)||3-Year-Olds and Up Fillies/Mares|
Several of those stakes races will run on Santa Anita’s new turf course, which underwent a six-month remodel that created a new chute. The remodel, the first since the 1950s, allows races up to 6-½ furlongs on the main turf oval. New sod went in as well.
Santa Anita’s meet begins Dec. 26 and runs through June 20.