11/14/2012 2:28PM

Santa Anita winter-spring stakes schedule maintains status quo


ARCADIA, Calif. – Santa Anita has made minimal changes to the 49-race stakes schedule for the track’s winter-spring meeting, which runs from Dec. 26 to April 21 and includes nine Grade 1 races.

The only changes in purses and distance are for two races for California-breds – divisions of the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes for 3-year-olds and for 3-year-old fillies. The purses of those races have been doubled from the 2011-12 meeting, to $300,000; been extended from seven furlongs to a mile; and will be run on Jan. 26, 2013 rather than late December as in past years. The races are part of the Golden State Series of lucrative stakes for California-breds.

For 2013, the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes races are part of a day of six stakes.

As in past years, there are several stakes grouped on major days.

The Dec. 26 opening day features two $300,000 Grade 1 sprints – the Malibu for 3-year-olds and La Brea for 3-year-old fillies. The Feb. 2 program has three stakes – including the Strub Stakes and San Antonio Stakes – that are preps for the $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 2. The March 2 program has three Grade 1 races, including the Las Virgenes Stakes and Frank Kilroe Mile.

The Santa Anita Handicap shares the role of richest races of the meeting with the Santa Anita Derby on April 6. For 2013, the Santa Anita Derby program includes the $300,000 Santa Anita Oaks, a Grade 1 race that is the championship race of the meeting for 3-year-old fillies. In 2012, the Santa Anita Oaks was run a week before the Santa Anita Derby.

For the forthcoming season, both the Santa Anita Derby and Santa Anita Oaks are four weeks before the Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.