Santa Anita Picks

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About Santa Anita Park

Santa Anita is located in Arcadia, California, in the vicinity of Los Angeles.  It stages some of America’s best racing in the winter and spring.  Currently owned by the Stronach Group, Santa Anita has played host to eight Breeder’s Cup, the most of any facility in America.

Santa Anita Particulars

Santa Anita has an 8-furlong, 1-mile dirt course.  Its stretch is relatively short at 990 feet.  Its turf course can measure anywhere from 6.5 to 12 furlongs given its unique configuration.  Santa Anita’s grass course has a hill start, the only one of its kind in North America. Also, it’s the only course in America where horses turn right.  In addition, it’s hillside turf course crosses over the main track, also a rarity in North American racing.

Santa Anita Known Track Bias

While on occasion daily trends supersede the norm, Santa Anita isn’t known to have a pronounced track bias.  Statistics reflect that horses close to the lead and coming from behind find the winner’s circle with almost the same regularity.

Santa Anita Post Positions

As the statistics from the current race meet indicate, winners are spread pretty evenly across post positions at Santa Anita on the dirt.  Often times considered a death sentence, the Santa Anita rail isn’t necessarily a curse.  Given the unique configuration of the turf course, the rail is actually a fairly good place to beat with 17.8% of the winners hailing from post 1, the most of any post.

Santa Anita Leading Jockeys

One name is missing from the top 5 jockeys at Santa Anita and that is Hall of Famer Mike Smith.  Smith hits at a 29% clip but has had less than 100 mounts during the meet.  As he gets older, Smith has grown more and more selective with what horses he gets on and customarily conserves his energy for stakes races.

Frenchman Flavien Prat is a jockey that has proven to be adept on both dirt and turf but is always a win threat on the grass.  After spending a few years on the East Coast, Joel Rosario has once again made Santa Anita his base and continues to do well.  Rafael Bejerano is a veteran ride that’s always dangerous on a horse with early speed.  Geovani Franco is a relative newcomer to the southern California scene but possesses patience well beyond his years.

Top 5 Jockeys from 2019 Meet

Flavien Prat      

Joel Rosario

Tiago Periera

Rafael Bejerano

Geovani Franco

Santa Anita Leading Trainers

Trainer Doug O’Neill is a stalwart at Santa Anita, perennially capturing trainer titles.  O’Neil has a 100-plus horse string in Southern California, and along with veteran assistant Leonardo Mora, he fills the entry box day in and day out.  Richard Baltas is known for his success with sprinters and veteran John Sadler is always a force to be reckoned with as is Hall of Famer Jerry Hollendorfer who has a sizable southern California string. A long-time assistant to the late Mike Mitchell, Phil D’Amato specializes in turf horses but has had success on the dirt as well.





Phil D’Amato    

Santa Anita Track History

The present-day location existed from 1904, and it remained active until 1909, burning down in 1912.  Santa Anita opened on Christmas Day 1934 as the Los Angeles Turf Club.  In February of 1935, the very first Santa Anita Handicap was contested.  At the time, its $100,000 purse was the largest in all the land.

Since it resides in the shadows of Hollywood, Santa Anita has had a tight connection with the film industry, playing host to numerous productions.  Famous Hollywood personalities such as Bing Crosby, Jim Rome, Errol Flynn, and Alex Trebek have owned horses that have competed at Santa Anita.

In the 1984 Olympics, equestrian was held at Santa Anita.  One year later, some 85,000-plus fans attended the Santa Anita Handicap.  Legendary horse Seabiscuit is synonymous with Santa Anita as a movie bearing his name was filmed there, a statue of him exists in close proximity to the paddock, and he ran his last-ever race there.

Santa Anita Notable Races

Santa Anita’s biggest two races are the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap.  The Derby is a key prep for the Kentucky Derby and annually sends at least three of its top finishers to Louisville on the first Saturday in May.  The Santa Anita Handicap, known affectionately as the Big ‘Cap, is one of the premier races for older horses in America.

In addition, to 11 Grade I’s, the track has over 60 graded stakes on all surfaces for all conditions.  Nearly every weekend day, there is a graded stake on the card.

In total, 11 Grade I races are held annually at Santa Anita: Mailbu (3YO), LaBrea (3YO F), American Oaks (3YO F), Beholder Mile (Older fillies and mares), Kilroe Mile (Older horses), Santa Anita Derby (3YO), Santa Anita Handicap (Older horses), Santa Anita Oaks (3YO F), Gold Cup (3YO), Shoemaker Mile (Older horses), Gamely (Older fillies and mares)

Santa Anita Track Contact Information

285 Huntington Drive, Arcadia, CA
1 (626) 574-7223