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January 7, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 7, 2011)—Santa Anita Park, which got off to a rollicking start with an opening day crowd of 44,579 on Dec. 26, welcomed its 100,000th customer Saturday on day-nine of its 79-day winter/spring meeting.

January 6, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 6, 2012) – First and third in two previous starts on turf, trainer Bob Baffert’s D’pendable simply ran away from his opposition over Santa Anita’s main track Friday when recording a decisive wire-to-wire victory in the $59,400 Decarchy Purse at six furlongs.

Third choice at 9-2 in a field of nine, the 4-year-old son of D’wildcat popped the gate under jockey Rafael Bejarano, sped through fractions of 21.25, 43.75 and 56.02 before being geared down to cross the wire 1 ½ lengths ahead of 41-1 longshot Thinking of Girls.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 6, 2012)—Horse of the Year candidates Acclamation and Game on Dude head an impressive list of nine Santa Anita-based finalists covering seven categories for the 2011 Eclipse Awards, which will be announced at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills on Jan. 16, while Santa Anita-based Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert seeks Eclipse hardware as America’s champion trainer.

Finalists for the 41st annual Eclipse Awards were announced Jan. 5 by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, Daily Racing Form, and the National Turf Writers and Broadcasters.

January 5, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 5, 2012) – Compari, a five-race loser since capturing the 2010 Arcadia Handicap in 2010, finally got headed back in the direction of that Grade II turf event on Thursday with an authoritative wire-to-wire victory in Santa Anita’s $77,400 Gutenberg Purse at one mile on grass.

Although the Gutenberg had a formful ending, it wasn’t enough to prevent a Pick Six carryover of $73,361 into Friday. It’s expected Friday’s total Pick Six pool should approach $400,000.

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 5, 2012) – Third in last year’s Daytona Stakes, Regally Ready will be just what his name implies when heavily favored to mend that unsightly little glitch in Sunday’s renewal of the Grade III, $100,000 event over 6 ½ furlongs on Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.

Talk about progress, Regally Ready went from failing by 1 ¾ lengths in the 2011 Daytona to winning three successive starts over the hillside course including the Grade III San Simeon Handicap. Next, he went to Churchill Downs to take the Grade III Turf Sprint.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (Jan. 5, 2012) – Rapid Redux, who recently set a modern-era record with 22 consecutive wins by a U.S. horse and tied the great Citation with 19 wins in a single season, has been selected to receive the 2011 Secretariat Vox Populi, or “Voice of the People,” Award. The award recognizes the horse whose popularity and racing excellence best resounded with the American public and gained recognition for Thoroughbred racing.

January 4, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 4, 2012)—Santa Anita Park, which opened its winter/spring meeting with an on-track crowd of 44,579 on Dec. 26, posted significant across the board gains through the first six days of its 79-day meet according to racetrack officials. Through six days, on-track attendance is up 21 percent, while on-track handle is up 11 percent.

“Our opening day crowd was the biggest it’s been since 1994 and our pari-mutuel figures have been up on-track and across the country,” said Santa Anita President George Haines.

January 2, 2012

ARCADIA, Calif. (Jan. 2, 2012) – Two-time Eclipse Award winning jockey Garrett Gomez clearly has not slowed down at the age of 40, winning his third stakes race at Santa Anita on Monday after having captured a pair on his birthday Sunday.

As he had done on Sunday while winning twice from off the pace aboard the second choice in each case, Gomez drove second-choice Mizdirection to a come-from-behind upset in Monday’s Grade III, $100,000 Monrovia Handicap at 6 ½ furlongs over Santa Anita’s hillside turf course.