08/20/2013 12:34PM

Santa Anita fall meet highlighted by Breeders' Cup


Highlighted by five Grade 1 races on Sept. 28 that serve as preps to the Breeders’ Cup five weeks later, Santa Anita on Tuesday announced its stakes schedule for its fall meeting, which opens on Sept. 27 and features the 30th running of the Breeders’ Cup on Nov. 1-2.

Santa Anita will have 27 graded stakes during the 24-day season which runs through Nov. 3, including the 14 that make up the two-day Breeders’ Cup. This will be the second of three consecutive years that Santa Anita will play host to the Breeders’ Cup.

The Sept. 28 card includes the Chandelier for 2-year-old fillies as a prep to the BC Juvenile Fillies, the Frontrunner for 2-year-olds as a prep to the BC Juvenile, the Rodeo Drive for female turf horses as a prep to the BC Filly and Mare Turf, the Zenyatta for older females as a prep to the BC Distaff, and the Awesome Again for older horses as a prep to the BC Classic.

The Oct. 5 card includes the Santa Anita Sprint Championship, another Grade 1 race, which will be the final local tune-up for the BC Sprint. The Grade 2 mile turf race that day, a prep to the BC Mile, has been renamed the City of Hope Mile, recognizing the cutting-edge cancer research and treatment facility just east of Santa Anita in Duarte, Calif.

The most significant change from last year’s fall schedule is the elimination of the California Cup, whose races will now be run in late January as part of the Sunshine Millions card during the main winter meeting, according to Rick Hammerle, Santa Anita’s vice president of racing. Hammerle rearranged the Cal-bred stakes schedule in concert with Doug Burge, executive vice president and general manager of the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association.

There will be a pair of $200,000 stakes races for California-bred 2-year-olds on the Nov. 1 card, and a pair of turf sprints for older horses – one restricted to females – will be run earlier in the meet, all as part of the enhanced Golden State program for Cal-breds.

“We view these changes as a great opportunity to better showcase our California-bred program,” Burge said.