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Santa Anita Handicap 2024 | Santa Anita Park Picks
Newgrange (Lindsay Affleck)

Santa Anita Handicap 2024 | Santa Anita Park Picks

Currently the top older horse on the local scene, Phil D’Amato’s 5-year-old Newgrange heads a wide-open field of seven older horses going a mile and one quarter in the 87th running of the legendary Santa Anita Handicap on Sunday.

Originally scheduled for Saturday, the Big Cap, along with three other graded stakes, will now be run on Sunday at Santa Anita Park due to a forecast calling for continuous rain Saturday.

First post time for a 10-race card on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m., with admission gates opening at 10:30 a.m.

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A 2 ¼ length winner of the opening day Grade II San Antonio Stakes under Irad Ortiz, Jr. going a mile and one sixteenth on Dec. 26, Newgrange will be reunited with Victor Espinoza who lead him gate to wire in the Grade II San Pasqual at a mile and one eighth on Jan. 27, winning by one length in a dominant performance.

A full horse by Violence out of the Empire Maker mare Bella Chianti, Newgrange posted a career-best 98 Beyer Speed Figure in the San Antonio and put up a 97 Beyer in the San Pasqual.

A well beaten seventh in last year’s Big Cap, Newgrange appears to be a vastly improved horse who will be trying a mile and one quarter for the second time in his career as he shoots for his third consecutive graded stakes win at the Classic Meet.

Owned by Rockingham Ranch, LLC, David Bernsen, LLC and Little Red Feather Racing, Newgrange will be seeking his first Grade I win on Sunday and his sixth overall graded stakes victory.  With seven wins and four third place finishes from 13 starts, he has earnings of $1,007,634.

D’Amato, 48 and a perennial leader on the Southern California training scene, will be seeking his first-ever win in the race that’s often referred to as “The Granddaddy Of Them All.”

Bob Baffert’s Newgate, who was second by one length to Newgrange in the San Pasqual, is the logical second choice in the Big Cap with Frankie Dettori getting back aboard.

The 8-5 favorite in the San Pasqual with Joel Rosario, Newgate, with Dettori, was second, beaten a half length in a 6 ½ furlong allowance here Jan. 6 and was victorious three starts back at age three in the Grade III Robert B. Lewis on Feb. 4, 2023 and was a close second in the Grade III Sham on Jan. 8, 2023.

In what will be his third start off a long layoff, Newgate could be sitting on an “A-List” performance.  A 4-year-old colt by Into Mischief out of the Majestic Warrior mare Majestic Presence, Newgate and stablemate Mr Fisk will be attempting to provide Baffert with his sixth Big Cap win, which would put him second behind Charlie Whittingham’s nine on the all-time Big Cap win list.

Owned by SF Racing, LLC, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, et al, Newgate will be trying a mile and one quarter for the first time as he seeks his second stakes victory.  With two wins and four seconds from eight overall starts, Newgate has earnings of $295,775.

Two-time Eclipse Award winning trainer Brad Cox has entered lightly raced Highland Falls, who looms dangerous as an up and coming 4-year-old.

A Godolphin homebred colt by Curlin out of the Awesome Again mare Round Pond, Highland Falls, a winner of three out of his four starts, including his last two, will be stretching out off a hard-fought three quarter length allowance score going a mile and one sixteenth at Fairgrounds in New Orleans.

A first-out maiden winner going one mile at Kentucky’s Ellis Park on Aug. 26, Highland Falls, who has earnings of $158,660, is based at Fairgrounds and will be ridden for the first time by Umberto Rispoli on Sunday. 


Race 8 of 10 | Approximate post time 4 p.m. PT

  1. Reincarnate – Juan Hernandez – 119
  2. Highland Falls – Umberto Rispoli – 118
  3. Mixto  – Antonio Fresu – 118
  4. Salesman – Flavien Prat – 121
  5. Newgate – Lanfranco Dettori – 121
  6. Subsanador – Hector Berrios – 120
  7. Newgrange – Victor Espinoza – 124