The holiday season annually brings west coast racing fans a gift they might actually want – albeit a day late, so let’s call it horse racing’s version of Boxing Day in southern California.
On December 26th Santa Anita Park begins its winter racing season.
The track celebrates its traditional post-Christmas opening day, which marks the start of a new season of racing at the Arcadia facility and kicks off one of the country’s premier annual winter/spring race meets.
SoCal’s six-month 2022-23 stand at Santa Anita, a.k.a. The Great Race Place, will continue until June 18th.
The race calendar begins with six Stakes including a trio of Grade 1 races – the Malibu Stakes, La Brea Stakes, and American Oaks – all which headline opening day.
Santa Anita will also have loaded New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day cards featuring a total of five more Graded Stakes races.
This Santa Anita season is actually two meets, with the main winter-spring Classic Meet ending on April 9th and going out with a bang on closing weekend – first with Santa Anita Derby Day on April 8th and then mandatory payouts of all carryover pools on April 9th.
The California Horse Racing Board recommended a two-week break in the midst of the Santa Anita winter-spring meet.
Santa Anita general manager Nate Newby and track officials agreed that a break during its marathon winter-spring stand would be the right move.
“We support that,” Newby said. “Not only to get the horses and horsemen a little bit of a break during a six-month meet, but also the chance to do our turf course statements, which our team really, really needs to do.”
After a break from April 10th-21st, racing at Santa Anita will resume with its spring season going from April 22nd through June 18th.
Along the way, a long list of major Stakes races will be run in every non-juvenile division, including such traditional Grade 1 features as the Santa Anita Handicap which will be run on a four-Stakes card March 4th.
Racing at Santa Anita will be conducted mainly on a four-day-a-week basis, Thursdays through Sundays, plus holidays.
A new bet offered during the Classic Meet is $1 Coast to Coast Pick 5, coupling up with fellow Stronach Group track Gulfstream Park and featuring a 15 percent takeout.
The wager makes its debut Saturday, January 7th and will be offered every Saturday and Sunday throughout the upcoming Classic Meet.