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ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 13, 2015)—With a pair of prestigious Grade I stakes, the Malibu and La Brea, leading the way on opening day, Dec. 26, Santa Anita Park has announced its 2015-16 Winter Meet stakes schedule. This comprehensive offering will present fans and horsemen with a total of eight Grade I events that include the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 12 and the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9. Additionally, the prestigious Grade I Santa Margarita Stakes for older fillies and mares will now offer $500,000 in prize money on March 19, up from $400,000. The schedule also includes 38 overall graded stakes that will be contested through closing day, April 10.
In addition to the Malibu, La Brea, Big ’Cap, Santa Anita Derby and Santa Margarita, the 2015-16 Winter Meet stakes roster is also comprised of three additional Grade I stakes; the Las Virgenes on Feb. 6, the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (turf) on March 12, and the Santa Anita Oaks on April 9.
For the second year in a row, Santa Anita will also present the Grade II, $200,000 Mathis Brothers Mile (turf) on opening day. Formerly run as the Sir Beaufort, the Mathis Brothers Mile is sponsored by one of the nation’s largest suppliers of residential and commercial furnishings. Traditionally one of the biggest days on the Winter Meet calendar, Sunshine Millions/California Cup Day will be held Jan. 30. Five stakes for California bred or sired horses will be carded: The Cal Cup Derby, Cal Cup Oaks, Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint, Donald Valpredo Cal Cup Sprint and the City National Bank California Cup Turf Classic. These races will offer horsemen $1 million in total purse money.
Santa Anita’s comprehensive schedule of traditional Derby preps will again include races worth a total of 240 Kentucky Derby qualifying points and will begin with the Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes (10 points) at one mile on Jan. 9, the Grade II, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (10 points) at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 6, and the Grade II, $400,000 San Felipe Stakes (50 points) at 1 1/16 miles on March 12.
The Santa Anita Derby, to be run for the 79th time, will reward the winner with 100 qualifying points, assuring that horse a berth in the Run for the Roses on May 7. Seventy additional points will be allocated, with 40 to the runner-up, 20 to third and 10 to the fourth place finisher.
With recent Santa Anita Derby winners I’ll Have Another (2012) and California Chrome (2014) taking two out of the last four runnings of the Kentucky Derby, the West Coast’s premier race for 3-year-olds has produced a total of 10 Kentucky Derby winners, dating back to Calumet Farm’s Hill Gail in 1952.
Santa Anita’s Winter Meet will be anchored by a pair of Grade III stakes on April 10—the Las Cienegas and the track’s traditional closing day feature, the San Juan Capistrano, to be run at about 1 ¾ miles over the Camino Real Turf.
In addition to its graded stakes schedule, Santa Anita will card overnight stakes throughout the meet. The complete 2015-16 Winter Meet stakes schedule is now available at santaanita.com.
First post time on Saturday, Dec. 26, is at 12 noon. Following the Winter Meet, Santa Anita’s 2016 Spring Meet will open on Thursday, May 5, and run through July 10. For more information, fans are encouraged to visit the track’s website or to call (626) 574-RACE.
Source: Santa Anita Park
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