From the Santa Anita Media Team:
Santa Anita Park has announced that beginning Jan. 17, it will offer a lucrative series of eight starter allowance races for fillies and mares on turf. The Santa Anita Turf Starter Series will be comprised of four sprints and four routes at distances of five furlongs on up to a marathon turf event at a mile and one half.
Patterned after last season’s successful Tin Man Starter Allowance Series, fillies and mares which have started for a claiming tag of $25,000 or less beginning in 2020 through entry time, are eligible. In addition to regular purse money, points will be awarded on a graduated scale to the first four finishers in each race, with 10 to the winner, six for second, three for third and one point to the fourth place runner.
At the end of the eight-race series, separate monetary awards will be given to owners of horses in both the sprint and route components of the series. Owners with the most points in each division will be awarded $5,000, with second place earning $3,000 and the third place finishers will each receive $2,000.
Those opting to run in sprints will compete at graduated distances of five furlongs, 5 ½ furlongs, six furlongs and 6 ½ furlongs.
Route races will start at one mile, then go to a mile and one eighth, a mile and one quarter and culminate at 1 ½ miles.
With leg one on Jan. 17 being contested at one mile, leg two, the beginning of the sprint series, will be run on Jan. 28 at five furlongs. Dates and distances for all subsequent races will be announced later.
“What we’ve done is package both a sprint series and route series as one,” said Santa Anita Director of Racing and Racing Secretary Chris Merz. “Although we anticipate that those horses running in sprints will aim for the four short races and that our routers will try to do the same going long, horsemen may opt to mix and match in terms of distances at some point and they’re welcome to do so.
“The Tin Man Starter Series, which we’ll again be offering this winter and spring, was well received last season and we’re hopeful this new series for fillies and mares will also generate a good deal of interest. It gives owners and trainers more options and obviously, it’s a way to stay on the turf and run for good purse money against comparable horses without risking them for a claiming tag.”
Santa Anita’s Winter/Spring opening day is Sunday, Dec. 26. For additional information regarding the Santa Anita Turf Starter Series for fillies and mares, please contact the Santa Anita Racing Office at (626) 574-6352.