Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif.
Santa Anita Park has announced substantial purse increases for its traditional Winter/Spring Race Meeting, which opens on Dec. 26. In partnership with the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), these purse increases will be in effect for overnight as well as stakes races beginning opening day Dec. 26.
With specifics relative to individual stakes races to be announced soon, Santa Anita will be offering $67,000 maiden special weight races—a $6,000 increase over what was offered at the 2020-21 Winter/Spring Meeting. Open, first condition allowance races will also get a $6,000 purse hike, from $63,000 to $69,000. Another specific increase will be offered to those horses running for a $25,000 claiming tag, as the purse is now set at $40,000, up from $36,000.
“We’re very happy to be in a position to announce these purse increases and we’ll have additional information available for everyone very soon,” said Chris Merz, Santa Anita Director of Racing and Racing Secretary. “We’re certainly hopeful that owners and horsemen both here in California and around the country will consider all that we’re offering and make plans to train and race at Santa Anita this winter. Here in California, our purse structure is based solely upon pari-mutuel handle. There are no casino subsidies available. That said, we are very encouraged by recent trends in California racing and we’re hopeful we can continue on an upward path this winter and into the spring.”
Nate Newby, Santa Anita Senior Vice President and General Manager, also expressed optimism regarding the direction of California racing and Santa Anita’s role in its resurgence.
“There are now many reasons to be optimistic about 2021 and beyond,” said Newby. “We’ve been able to raise purses at the Winter/Spring Meet by 10 percent for two consecutive years now and that’s certainly good news. We have invested heavily in change and in our racing infrastructure, which has resulted in better, safer racing, which is our top priority.
“Looking ahead to the winter and spring, we are greatly encouraged that we’re going to be able to provide our fans with a top quality product that will include improved betting opportunities which is what drives our entire industry. With the addition of our turf chute this past winter, we are confident that with good weather, we’re going to be in a position to offer owners and horsemen the best turf and main track racing in the country.”
With this year’s two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships set for Nov. 5 & 6 at Del Mar, Santa Anita’s 16-day Autumn Meet, which opens on Friday, Oct. 1, will offer fans and horsemen a wide variety of Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” qualifying races which will no-doubt serve as showcases for potential champions. Purses, which were increased for last year’s Autumn stand, will remain the same this year, through closing day, Oct. 31.
The Grade 2, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes, for 3-year-olds and up at 6 ½ furlongs on turf, will highlight the opening day program on Oct. 1.
For additional information regarding the 2021 Autumn Meet and the 2021-22 Winter Spring Meeting, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
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