Trainers Jerry Hollendorfer and John Sadler

Trainers Jerry Hollendorfer and John Sadler

Benoit Photography

Santa Anita Winter Meet Handle Up 4%

Handle figures from Santa Anita Derby Day grew 13 percent.

Handle from all-sources during Santa Anita Park's 77th winter meet was up 4% when the Arcadia, Calif., track concluded the meet April 20. 

Santa Anita Derby Day April 5 saw a 13% rise in handle to $22,542,443, compared with the same day in 2013, with 35,241 on-track fans in attendance this year.  

Trainers Jerry Hollendorfer and John Sadler and jockey Rafael Bejarano took the respective trainer and jockey titles for the winter meet, which opened Dec. 26.

Hollendorfer, perennial leader at Bay Area tracks, and John Sadler each won 34 races during the meet. In a dramatic finish to draw even with Hollendorfer, Sadler sent out Bench Light to win the meet's final race by a neck over the Hollendorfer-trained Husband's Folly. Bob Baffert was third with 33 wins.

Bejarano continued his reign of dominance in Southern California, leading from start to finish to capture his fifth Santa Anita riding title, outdistancing runner-up Joe Talamo, 93-54. Gary Stevens led in stakes triumphs with 10, including the Santa Lucia Stakes with champion Beholder on the final day. Apprentice rider Drayden Van Dyke was a unanimous choice as the leading 'bug" rider. The 19-year-old native of Louisville, Ky., won 31 to finish eighth in the standings overall.

Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, who campaign Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) winner California Chrome , the leading contender for the Kentucky Derby Presented by Yum! Brands (gr. I), were also named the meet's outstanding owners, edging the Hronis brothers, Kosta and Peter, and Glen Hill Farm.

California Chrome was named Horse of the Meet by virtue of his authoritative victory in the Santa Anita Derby April 5. 

The California-bred son of Lucky Pulpit, trained by Art Sherman, also was unanimously named the meet's outstanding 3-year-old.

"We're very proud of his accomplishments and appreciate the recognition by the media," Sherman said. "We hope he rewards their respect by continuing to win."

California Chrome won three races during the meet by wide margins: the California Cup Derby by 5 1/2 lengths on Jan. 25 and the San Felipe Stakes (gr. II) by 7 1/4 lengths on March 8 in addition to the Santa Anita Derby by 5 1/4 lengths.

Santa Anita's first-ever spring meet will open on Friday, April 25 and run through Sunday, June 29.