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December 30, 2009

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 30, 2009) – The much-anticipated return of Sidney’s Candy, who became a “buzz” horse in the 2010 Triple Crown picture last summer after a dazzling maiden victory at Del Mar, never had much of a chance Wednesday at Santa Anita.

As the 3-5 favorite in a $46,000 allowance event for 2-year-olds at six furlongs, the son of Candy Ride was virtually eliminated after he hopped at the start of the six-furlong event won in wire-to-wire fashion by trainer Bob Baffert’s Tiny Woods.

December 28, 2009

ARCADIA, Calif., (Dec. 28, 2009) – Racing on turf and beyond a sprint distance for the first time, 5-2 second-choice Macias held off fast-closing 3-2 favorite Alfarabi to win Monday’s fourth running of the $72,150 Eddie Logan Stakes for 2-year-olds while traversing the one-mile distance in 1:35.11 at Santa Anita.

With jockey Victor Espinoza gaining his third stakes victory on the Santa Anita meet’s third day, Macias tracked longshot pace-setter Lucks Mine, took command in midstretch and had enough in reserve to turn back Alfarabi by three-quarters-of-a-length.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 28, 2009) – As he marks his 10th birthday on Friday, racehorse centenarian Shadow of Illinois will be seeking a distinctive place in Santa Anita history while in search of his fourth straight victory in Santa Anita’s 13th running of the $100,000 Sensational Star Handicap for California-breds at 6 ½ furlongs over the track’s downhill turf course.

December 27, 2009

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 27, 2009) – Lava Man faded to last with blood spattered on both rear hooves after leading six rivals for nearly one mile of his comeback attempt before defending champion Proudinsky closed determinedly to win Sunday’s Grade II, $150,000 San Gabriel Handicap at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Santa Anita.

The 63rd running of the San Gabriel marked the first start in 17 months for the 8-year-old gelding widely acclaimed as the greatest claim purchase in racing history.

December 26, 2009

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2009) – Before Santa Anita’s largest opening day crowd in 10 years, M One Rifle fired the biggest shot of an action-packed afternoon when Mike Smith guided the California-bred son of One Man Army to a wire-to-wire, 2 ½ length victory over 2-1 favorite Misremembered in the 58th running of the Grade I, $300,000 Malibu Stakes for 3-year-olds while negotiating seven furlongs in 1:21.05 for trainer, co-owner and co-breeder Bruce Headley.

December 9, 2009

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 9, 2009)—Santa Anita Park announced Wednesday a list of five finalists for the 61st annual Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award, with the winner to be announced in January. Calvin Borel, Garrett Gomez, Randall Meier, Gallyn Mitchell and DeShawn Parker will face an electorate comprised of their peers and one of the five will be selected the recipient of the highly coveted 2010 Woolf Award.

The Woolf Award has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950 and is regarded as one of the most prestigious honors in all of racing. It honors and recognizes those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing. The winner’s trophy is a replica of the life-size statue of George Woolf, which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area.

December 8, 2009

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 8, 2009)—Santa Anita Park has announced the addition of a new on-line handicapping contest, “Winvivor,” beginning Jan. 1. This contest will complement the popular “Showvivor,” which has been offered to Santa Anita fans free of charge, for the past two years.

“Showvivor has been very popular with our fans and we feel that Winvivor could be a big hit as well,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Marketing, Allen Gutterman. “By virtue of the fact that you’ll have to pick a winner each day instead of a horse that finishes first, second or third, it’s obviously going to be tougher for people to stay ‘alive’ with Winvivor, but we think it has the potential to create some added interest, which is always good.”

December 4, 2009

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 4, 2009)—Santa Anita Park announced on Friday that the legendary Hall of Fame gelding, John Henry, will be immortalized for generations of racegoers to come as a life-sized bronze statue of him will be unveiled by his long-time Hall of Fame trainer, Ron McAnally, in Santa Anita’s picturesque Paddock Gardens on opening day, Saturday, Dec. 26, of Santa Anita’s winter/spring meet. The unveiling will coincide with and complement Santa Anita’s 75th anniversary celebration.

Sculpted by Nina Kaiser, the statue stands at John Henry’s height, 15.2 hands, and weighs roughly the same as “John” did, 1,000 lbs. Commissioned by Santa Anita and Oak Tree, Kaiser worked on the project for more than two years.

November 24, 2009

ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 24, 2009)—In the wake of what many consider to be the most dramatic performance in Breeders’ Cup history, the Oak Tree Racing Association has announced that the undefeated superstar mare Zenyatta, a devastating last-to-first winner of the Grade I, $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Oak Tree on Nov. 7, will be honored by having the name of the race she won in both 2008 and 2009, the Grade I Lady’s Secret, renamed The Zenyatta, effective next year.

November 13, 2009

ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 13, 2009)—The popular Sunshine Millions, which was designed to match the best California-bred horses versus the best bred Thoroughbreds from Florida, will return to both Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park on Saturday, Jan. 30, with $1.8 million in purses at stake.

Inaugurated in 2003, the Sunshine Millions program has become a popular fixture on both the Southern California and Florida racing calendars, appealing to fans and horsemen alike.

Santa Anita will play host to three Sunshine Millions races this year—The Classic, for 4-year-olds and up at 1 1/8 miles, the Filly and Mare Turf, for older distaffers at 1 1/8 miles and the Sunshine Millions Filly and Mare Sprint, for older fillies and mares at six furlongs on the main track.

Gulfstream Park, in Hallandale, Florida, will also present three races—the Filly and Mare Distaff at 1 1/8 miles on dirt, the Turf, for older horses at 1 1/8 miles, and the Sunshine Millions Sprint for older horses at six furlongs.

Due to a sluggish local and national economy, purses for the upcoming Millions program have been reduced. The Classic will offer a purse of $500,000, down from $1 million in 2009. The Filly and Mare Turf will have a purse of $300,000, down from $500,000, and the Filly and Mare Sprint will offer horsemen a purse of $200,000, down from $300,000.

At Gulfstream, the purses for the Filly and Mare Distaff and Sunshine Millions Turf have both been reduced from $500,000 to $300,000. The Sprint now offers a purse of $200,000, down from $300,000 last year.