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Dec 17, 2004



            On the day after Christmas Santa Anita will open its doors and

celebrate its 70th anniversary. On Christmas Day, 1934, a dream came true

 for Dr. Charles H. Strub with the official opening of Santa Anita Park. Its

70th year will run from December 26th through Monday, April 18th. The meeting

 will run 85 days and will be highlighted by the $1-million Santa Anita

Handicap on March 5, the Santa Anita Derby on April 9th and the $3.6 Sunshine

Millions Day on January 29th.

            As always Santa Anita will attract the top quality horses and the fans

 will not have to wait long. The opening day feature will be the 58th running

of the $250,000 Malibu Stakes for three year olds. The Grade I Malibu is the

 first leg of the Strub Series. This race will see ROCK HARD TEN return and

 this will be the first time that he will run for trainer Richard Mandella. There are

many other quality runners expected and should get the meeting off on the

 right foot. There is a special post time on opening day at 12 noon (PST).

            There will be racing Wednesday through Sunday throughout the meet

 except for Monday, Dec. 27., Jan. 17, Feb. 21 and April 18. First post time on

weekends and holidays will be 12:30 p.m. and 1 p.m. on weekdays, except on

 Friday, Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve, when it will be 12:30 p.m. All times are Pacific.

            There will also be special post on other days. Post time will be

11 a.m. on Super Bowl Sunday, Feb. 6, and 12 noon on Sunshine Millions

 Day, Jan. 29, Strub Stakes Day, Feb. 5, Presidents’ Day, Feb. 21, Santa Anita

 Handicap Day, March 5, and Santa Anita Derby Day, April 9. There will be

twilight racing on the final two Fridays of the meet, April 8 and April 15, with

 post time set for 3 p.m.

            Sunshine Millions will be run for the third time. This series pits

California breds against Florida breds in head to head competition run at both

 Santa Anita and Gulfstream Park. This series is once again highlighted by the

 $1 million Sunshine Millions Classic, to be run this year at Gulfstream Park.

 NBC will cover the Sunshine Millions from 1-3 p.m. (PST).

            The Santa Anita Handicap and the Santa Anita Derby will have an

impact on the year end awards. The Santa Anita Handicap was won last year

by SOUTHERN IMAGE, who if he didn’t get hurt would have been a contender

 for Horse of the Year.

            The Santa Anita Derby on the other hand is a major prep for those

three year olds on the Triple Crown Trail. Over the last eight years horses

exiting the Santa Anita Derby have either won or finished in the money in

Triple Crown races in six of those years.

            The most recent meeting at Santa Anita, the Oak Tree meeting the

leading jockey was Corey Nakatani, who scored at 23.9%. He held on by two

wins over Victor Espinoza and Tyler Baze, who tied for second with 19 wins.

Those riders will take a bulk of the money at the windows. Some jockeys that

 can offer value are David Cohen, who had 9 wins at the Oak Tree meeting

and Casey Fusilier, who had five wins from 38 mounts. Fusilier has been

riding for trainer Bob Baffert and can have a big meeting with a few breaks, follow.

            The Oak Tree meeting’s leading trainer was Mike Mitchell with 13

wins, a winning percentage of 43.3%. His in the money percentage was an

astounding 70%. Doug O’Neill, Robert Frankel and Jeff Mullins all had good

meetings but some trainers to watch are Adam Kitchingman who scored with

3 out of five starters and Neil Drysdale who had four wins from 17 starters

with a 58.8% in the money percentage. His barn is doing well now and he

 just may have the best two year old, soon to be three year old in

FUSAICHI SAMURAI. He debuted on December 11th and has the racing

world buzzing. Out of Kentucky Derby winner FUSAICHI PEGASUS he

has the pedigree to get it done.

            Good Luck at the upcoming meeting and don’t forget we will have

 selections for Santa Anita starting opening day on our selection line


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