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SANTA ANITA AUTUMN MEET OFF TO SOLID START, ‘GREAT RACE PLACE’ ATTRACTS 16,013 ON SATURDAY
ARCADIA, Calif. (Oct. 3, 2011)—Santa Anita Park reestablished itself as America’s premier autumn and winter racing venue over the weekend by posting strong on-track attendance and handle numbers. “The Great Race Place” conducted Breeders’ Cup Challenge Day on Saturday, attracting 16,013 fans who bet $2,716,576, and followed that up on Sunday with an on-track crowd of 8,027 and on-track handle of $1,784,574.
Santa Anita and racing venues across the country hosted prep races on Saturday for the 2011 Breeders’ Cup World Championships.
“The entire racing industry in California is glad to have live racing back at Santa Anita and we’re happy that we were able to quickly re-establish our position as America’s premier fall and winter racing venue,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “To be able to attract an on-track crowd of 16,000 and to handle $2.7 million on Saturday is something we expect to be able to do here at Santa Anita and we hope to build upon the success of our opening weekend and carry it through the next five weeks.”
Santa Anita presented four Grade I Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” races on Saturday and as expected, there were some world-class performances.
Saturday’s Grade I Norfolk Stakes was taken by the Mike Harrington-conditioned Creative Cause, who outran favored Drill through the lane to win by 1 ¼ lengths. Joel Rosario was aboard the son of Giant’s Causeway who paid $5.80 to win and got the 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.66.
The Grade I Lady’s Secret Stakes was taken in dramatic, off-the-pace fashion by Zazu, under Rosario. It marked the fourth consecutive victory in the Lady’s Secret for owners Jerry and Ann Moss, as they had won the previous three runnings with the great Zenyatta. Zazu is trained by John Sadler and paid $5.80 to win and got the 1 1/8 miles in 1:41.59.
Game On Dude, a winner this past March of the Grade I Santa Anita Handicap, pressed the pace and finished as much the best in the Grade I Goodwood Stakes under Chantal Sutherland. Owned by Joe Torre’s Diamond Pride Stable, the Lanni Family Trust, Mercedes Stable and partners, the 4-year-old Awesome Again gelding got the 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.36. Trained by Bob Baffert, Game On Dude paid $4.20 to win.
Saturday’s Grade I Yellow Ribbon Stakes presented by Emirates Airline, went to English-bred Dubawi Heights, providing Rosario with a career-first three Grade I wins in one day. In a powerful performance, Dubawi Heights won by three quarters of a length and paid $6.40 to win. She is trained and co-owned by Simon Callaghan.
On Sunday, the California-bred Acclamation strengthened his claim as America’s top turf horse by winning the Grade II Clement L. Hirsch Turf Championship at 1 ¼ miles on turf. The Hirsch was his fifth consecutive graded stakes triumph and co-owner and breeder Bud Johnston indicated his next start will likely be in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Trained by Don Warren, Acclamation was ridden by Patrick Valenzuela and paid $2.80 to win. The final time was 1:59.45.
Live racing resumes at Santa Anita on Thursday and will continue through Monday, Oct. 10, which is Columbus Day. First post time each day is 1 p.m.