03/29/2012 1:51PM

History challenge answers: Santa Oaks a track institution


See the questions HERE.

1. The inaugural Santa Susana Stakes in 1935 was won by the 2-year-old filly Dunlin Lady. She was ridden by William “Smokey” Saunders, who later that year was aboard Omaha when that colt became the third winner of racing’s Triple Crown.

Dunlin Lady’s time on the three-furlong straightaway was 34 flat.

When it originally opened, Santa Anita’s oval included a 1/8-mile chute off the homestretch that allowed for three-furlong races.

In 1972, the Los Angeles Turf Club, owners of Santa Anita, entered into a long-term agreement to lease 84 acres of its property to what would open in 1974 as the Santa Anita Fashion Park mall.

The lease necessitated moving many of the barns in the area northward, taking up most of the chute and eliminating 2-year-old racing at the track. (In recent years, Santa Anita has resumed carding 2-year-old races at two furlongs.)

Another victim of the shopping mall was the popular Anita Chiquita training track that had opened in 1937. It was replaced with a new training track inside the turf course.

2. Fortunately, for breeder-owner Cornelius Vanderbilt Whitney, there were no takers when Silver Spoon was entered in an $8,000 maiden claimer in her first start, which came on Belmont Park’s old Widener Course in 1958. She won by six lengths.

Silver Spoon had a hitch in her gait from an early injury, and trainer Bob Wheeler, a Hall of Fame nominee in 2011 and again this year, figured correctly that no one would claim her.

In addition to winning the Santa Susana Stakes and Santa Anita Derby at age 3 in 1959, Silver Spoon won the La Centinela and Santa Ynez stakes and beat males again in the Cinema Handicap.

From 1946 through 1979, Silver Spoon was the only filly to contest the Kentucky Derby, in which she was beaten by 3 1/4 lengths. (Her owner’s father, Harry Payne Whitney, bred and campaigned Regret, who to that time was the only filly to win the Louisville classic.)

At year’s end, Silver Spoon was voted national champion 3-year-old filly in two polls. She was inducted into racing’s Hall of Fame in 1978.

3. Referring to the filly Lamb Chop, noted racing editor Raleigh Burroughs wrote, “A Thoroughbred that scares a track out of the gambling business generally is of superior quality. There are no betless stakes races for ordinary horses.”

By the fall of 1963, Lamb Chop was so dominant that Keeneland made the Spinster Stakes a betless exhibition. She won by 11 lengths.

In 1963, Lamb Chop won nine stakes, setting track records at Keeneland and Garden State Park. She was voted champion 3-year-old filly.

In January 1964, Lamb Chop took on males, finishing second to future Hall of Fame inductee Gun Bow in the San Fernando Stakes. In her next start – again against males – she broke down during the running of the Charles H. Strub Stakes and was humanely destroyed. She is buried at Santa Anita.

4. Like Ack Ack, Turkish Trousers, champion 3-year-old filly of 1971, raced entirely in California. Both were conditioned by Charlie Whittingham, who trained almost exclusively in Southern California and was voted the first Eclipse Award for outstanding trainer.

Turkish Trousers won eight consecutive stakes races from February to August. Among her victories, in addition to the Santa Susana, were the Honeymoon Stakes, Hollywood Oaks, and Del Mar Oaks.

The following season, Turkish Trousers won the Santa Maria and Santa Margarita Invitational handicaps.

5. Susan’s Girl, bred and owned by Fred W. Hooper, was voted champion filly at age 3 in 1972 and champion handicap female at ages 4 and 6.

Campaigning over five seasons from coast to coast, Susan’s Girl won 23 stakes, including the Kentucky Oaks, Santa Margarita Invitational Handicap, Beldame Stakes (twice), Spinster Stakes (twice), and Delaware Handicap (twice).

One major listing of the top 100 horses of the 20th century placed Susan’s Girl at No. 51 – with only five females rated higher. She was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976, one year following her retirement.