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February 22, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2012)—In honor of the 75th running of the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap, Santa Anita Park has unveiled a dazzling new logo for its signature race for older horses to be run Saturday, March 3.

“This is a truly historic occasion and we felt the Big ’Cap deserved an artistic upgrade,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Sales and Marketing Chris Quinn. “Thanks to Candace Chew and Victor Sandoval in our Graphics Department, this logo fits the bill.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 21, 2012)—Santa Anita Park, which has experienced significant gains in overall handle and field size through the first 31 days of its winter/spring meeting, has announced that with the approval of the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), it will continue to run a four-day-a-week schedule through closing day, April 22.

“We’re very pleased with how the meeting is going,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “Our overall handle is currently up seven percent and our field size has remained strong, at 8.3 horses per race, compared to 7.7 a year ago.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 22, 2012) – Following a weather-related delay, Amazombie sets forth on becoming only the second horse in history to gain a second successive Eclipse Award as North America’s champion sprinter when facing five challengers Saturday in Santa Anita’s 74th running of the Grade II, $200,000 San Carlos Stakes at seven furlongs.

An off-track tabled the 6-year-old California-bred gelding’s scheduled return in the Jan. 21 Palos Verdes Stakes (Grade II). Weather is not expected to be a factor when Amazombie finally resurfaces from his gutsy neck victory over Force Freeze at 7-1 odds in the Grade I, $1.5 million Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs on Nov. 5.

February 20, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 20, 2012) – The beaten favorite in her two previous starts, City to City finally got the money by a desperate head over Up In Time Monday in a driving finish to climax Santa Anita’s Grade II, $150,000 Buena Vista Handicap after covering the one mile on turf in 1:34.19.

With Corey Nakatani aboard for the first time in the 5-year-old mare’s 24-race career, City to City charged to a narrow lead in deep stretch before stoutly resisting the closing bid by Up In Time and jockey Brice Blanc on the extreme outside. It was another half-length back to Wild Mia and David Flores in the blanket finish.

After failing as the 9-5 favorite in Santa Anita’s Grade II Robert J. Frankel Stakes on New Year’s Day and as the 8-5 choice in Hollywood Park’s Grade II Bayakoa Handicap one month before, City to City was dismissed at odds of 8-1 on Presidents’ Day.

February 19, 2012

By BETH HARRIS AP Racing Writer

ARCADIA, Calif. (AP) _ Drill defeated American Act by a nose to win the $150,000 San Vicente Stakes (Grade II) and snap a five-race skid on Sunday at Santa Anita, although trainer Bob Baffert isn't rushing him onto the Kentucky Derby trail. An on-track crowd of 11,023 were held spellbound the final furlong and the result was very much in doubt until the photo finish camera established the official order of finish.

Ridden by Martin Garcia, Drill ran seven furlongs in 1:21.28 and paid $9.60 and $5 at 7-2 odds.

American Act, who battled back gamely at the rail under Martin Pedroza, returned $4, while 1-2 favorite Creative Cause was another length back in third. Let's Get Crackin was fourth. There was no show wagering after Smoking G and Captain Obvious were scratched, leaving a field of four to contest one of the most important preps to the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 7.

February 18, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 18, 2012) – Ellafitz, the 5-year-old mare whom trainer Bob Baffert says is “getting better with age,” demonstrated her gritty resistance Saturday when turning back challenge after challenge as the front-running winner of Santa Anita’s Grade II, $200,000 Santa Maria Stakes for older fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles.

After 11 starts without a stakes victory, the bay daughter of Tiznow notched her third successive stakes win and second Grade II. But instead of running away from her competitors as she had done twice previously, Ellafitz dealt with them head-on Saturday while timed in 1:42.48.

First, Spirit Seeker took her run at the 4-5 favorite. She became discouraged. Next, third-choice Great Hot made a bid. She became discouraged. Finally, Miss Mittagong flung down the gauntlet. Little progress. Ellafitz and jockey Martin Garcia crossed the wire 1 ¼ lengths ahead of Miss Mittagong and defending champion Vision in Gold, the 3-1 second choice, who dead-heated for the place.

February 17, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 17, 2012)—Santa Anita Park has announced the launch of a first-ever Santa Anita Derby Madness on-line contest patterned after the wildly popular March Madness basketball bracket model, with winners to be determined according to the outcome of the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby, to be run on April 7.

February 16, 2012