MARCH MADNESS COMES TO GREAT RACE PLACE, SANTA ANITA DERBY BRACKET CONTEST UNDERWAY, FOUR POOLS, 32 HORSES TO BE RATED, UPDATED, GRADE I SANTA ANITA DERBY ON APRIL 7 IS FINAL LEG

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.

“We’re going to have four Derby pools or brackets, with eight horses in each,” said Santa Anita’s Director of Marketing Nate Newby. “Each bracket will start off with the highest-rated horse available and will be filled out in order of preference by horses who are less accomplished.

“For instance, our four top seeds at this point are: Out of Bounds, who won the Grade III Sham Stakes here on Jan. 7, Creative Cause, who won the Grade I Norfolk in October and was third in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, Fed Biz, who ran lights-out going a mile in his first start against winners on Feb. 9, and I’ll Have Another, who won the Grade II Robert B. Lewis Stakes at a mile and a sixteenth on Feb. 4. Those four horses will be the number one seeds in their respective pools.”

Newby explained that all horses would be evaluated and each bracket would be assembled by a committee of experts, including Racing Secretary Rick Hammerle and racing analysts from Daily Racing Form and HRTV.

“The way this will work is each player will be able to select one horse from each pool and lock in a total of four horses for their own individual four-horse bracket,” said Newby. “There will be points awarded for wins, graded stakes wins and placings in various races. The key for players trying to accumulate the most points is to try and draft horses that aren’t ranked highly and hope they out-run their early rankings.

“For instance, a win in a graded stakes is worth three points. If you draft a horse who is ranked number five overall, and this horse wins a graded stakes, you’ll earn the horse’s ranking times three, or fifteen points. If you had drafted any of the four top-seeded horses, you would only pick up three points, as they are all seeded number-one.”

The winner will receive four tickets to the 2012 Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita on Nov. 2 & 3, along with a $2,000 win voucher on any horse in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic.

“We realize this is a brand-new concept for horseplayers and we’d like to thank our web team at Salted Stone in Monrovia for helping us with the project launch,” said Newby. “Mike Skeehan and his team have put a very user-friendly website together and we think our fans are going to like it.

“We’d like to encourage everyone to register as they can pick up points this weekend. There are some important Derby preps to be run, including the San Vicente (Grade II) here at Santa Anita on Sunday and the El Camino Real Derby (Grade III) at Golden Gate Fields on Saturday. ”

To sign up please visit http://santaanita.com/santa-anita-derby-madness/register.php.

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