From the Santa Anita Media Team:

With an 11 race-card that included six stakes, all run in idyllic weather conditions, Santa Anita Park set an all-time opening day record pari-mutuel handle of $23,003,159 on Saturday, eclipsing the previous opening day benchmark of $20,491,016, which was established over 11 races run on Dec. 26, 2018.

 

Aside from essential licensed personnel, which includes owners, Santa Anita remains closed to the public and thus almost all of its total handle today was wagered via several ADW platforms and a smattering of brick and mortar satellite locations that have remained open during the COVID-19 pandemic.

 

Santa Anita, which opened on Dec. 25, 1934 and was closed for three years during World War II, staged its 84th opener on Saturday, with first post time at 11 a.m.

 

“We want to thank our fans, owners, trainers, jockeys and other stakeholders for supporting our racing program and contributing to a strong opening day,” said Nate Newby, Santa Anita Senior Vice President and General Manager.  “This has been a difficult year for a lot of people and we are happy to be able to provide world class racing for those watching and playing the races from home.

 

“We can’t wait to welcome our fans and our employees back to The Great Race Place when protocols allow everyone to enjoy our tremendous sport in person.  In the meantime, we are thankful  to be able to operate as we are currently.”

 

With five graded stakes, three of them of the Grade I variety, the highlight of the opening day program came in the Grade I, $300,000 Runhappy Malibu, as Bob Baffert’s Charlatan powered to a tremendous 4 ½ length win under Mike Smith and thus thrust himself into a potential role of Horse of the Year candidate in the New Year.

 

First post time for a 10-race card on Sunday at Santa Anita is at 11:30 a.m.  All of Santa Anita’s races are available free of charge at santaanita.com/live and fans can watch and wager on these races via number of ADW platforms, including 1st.com/Bet