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Opening day of the Classic Meet at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)
Opening day of the Classic Meet at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia on Tuesday, Dec. 26, 2023. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/ SCNG)
Kevin Modesti, Los Angeles Daily News


Jockeys / Wins

Juan Hernandez / 50

Flavien Prat / 42

Antonio Fresu / 42

Frankie Dettori / 28

Hector Berrios / 24

Umberto Rispoli / 24

Trainers / Wins

Doug O’Neill / 29

Mark Glatt / 25

Phil D’Amato / 24

Bob Baffert / 23

Steve Knapp / 20




• $750,000, Grade I Santa Anita Derby, 3-year-olds, 1-1/8 miles

• $300,000, Grade II Santa Anita Oaks, 3-year-old fillies, 1-1/16 miles

• $100,000, Grade III Monrovia Stakes, fillies and mares, 4 and up, about 6½ furlongs on turf

* $125,000 Echo Eddie Stakes, California-bred 3-year-olds, 6½ furlongs

• $125,000 Evening Jewel Stakes, Cal-bred 3-year-old fillies, 6½ furlongs


• $100,000 John Shear Stakes, 3-year-olds, about 6½ furlongs on turf

• $100,000 Angels Flight Stakes, 3-year-old fillies, about 6½ furlongs on turf



• $30,000 James Smith Memorial Handicap, 3-year-old quarter horses, 350 yards


• Santa Anita is reducing purses for the two-month portion of its season known as the Hollywood Meet, starting Friday, April 19 after a week off. A track executive told the California Horse Racing Board on March 21 that cuts would be needed to manage a $4 million purse deficit caused by declines in wagering. Officials confirmed a report by the Daily Racing Form’s Steve Andersen that the cuts amount to about 12% from 2023 levels and affect everyday races and some stakes. The May 27 Hollywood Gold Cup, now Grade II instead of Grade I, will be worth $200,000 instead of $300,000.

• Trainers Neil Drysdale and Tim Yakteen ended graded-stakes droughts in turf miles run on Thursday at Santa Anita after being rained out last weekend. The mare Nadette and Hector Berrios burst past Stay and Scam late in the $100,000, Grade III Wilshire to give Drysdale his first graded win in California since 2022. Johannes and Umberto Rispoli took the $100,000, Grade III American for Yakteen’s first graded win since the 2023 Santa Anita Derby with Practical Move.

• The final round of official future betting on the May 4 Kentucky Derby closes Saturday at 1 p.m. PDT, before the final Derby preps are run. Fierceness is 7-2 on the morning line after his 13½-length win in the Florida Derby, followed by 6-1 Sierra Leone, 8-1 Catching Freedom, 10-1 Forever Young and 12-1 Dornoch. Thirty-nine individuals and an “all others” option are available for wagering.

• Two big changes in the Kentucky Derby contenders list: Santa Anita-based Endlessly is in, after trainer Michael McCarthy had indicated the Jeff Ruby Steaks winner at Turfway Park would run in a grass race on the Derby undercard. Timberlake is out, trainer Brad Cox said after the Rebel Stakes winner faded to fourth behind Muth in the Arkansas Derby.

• Handicappers have begun seeing workout clockings from Santa Anita’s new all-weather training track in past-performance charts. The synthetic oval, installed at a cost of $8 million, opened for workouts Saturday after being tested by joggers and gallopers for most of March.

• Kent Desormeaux’s victory aboard Bob Hess-trained Ashcroft on March 24 at Santa Anita, the racing Hall of Famer’s first from 16 mounts in 2024, marked the 39th year in a row he has ridden at least one winner. (Hat tip to Gary Dougherty’s Racing Stats & Info tweets.) Desormeaux, 54, has 6,168 wins, 17th among North American thoroughbred jockeys all-time and fourth among active riders.

• Jockey Giovanni Franco, unseated from Flatterwithjewels at the start of Santa Anita’s 1-mile second race Thursday, didn’t miss a mount and rode sixth-race winner Diamonds Danzing. The second was declared no contest and the rest of the field was pulled up on the backstretch because Franco didn’t get up immediately and could have been in the horses’ path to the finish. Single-race and some multi-race wagers were refunded.

• Santiago Gonzalez, who went to the hospital for tests after hitting the ground hard when She’s a Joker slipped and fell turning for home in a turf mile March 29 at Santa Anita, was named on two horses Thursday but ended up missing the day’s races. She’s a Joker walked away from the accident and was reported unhurt.

• Los Alamitos’ Saturday feature, the James Smith Memorial Handicap, is headed by Ready for It, trained by Monty Arrossa and ridden by Armando Cervantes. Arrossa leads the Orange County track’s quarter-horse trainer standings with 12 wins. Jose Nicasio leads the jockeys with 10 wins.

• The annual Santa Anita Derby Day 5K Run & Walk – that’s for humans – will keep Baldwin Avenue closed to cars on Saturday from 7:30 to 10 a.m. Santa Anita’s first post time that day is noon.

— Kevin Modesti