Santa Anita Park

Santa Anita Park

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Santa Anita Reports Attendance, Handle Gain

Out-of-state wagers paid off with 7% increase in total handle as meet ends April 22.

Santa Anita Park capped its 75th winter/spring season April 22 reporting gains in on-track attendance and overall pari-mutuel handle.

No actual figures were reported.

The track’s out-of-state business propelled a 7% increase in total pari-mutuel handle, Santa Anita said in a statement. On-track handle and attendance were each up 1% over 2011, it reported. Attendance totaled more than 580,000.

“This is our first winter/spring meet under the direction of The Stronach Group,” said Santa Anita CEO Mark Verge. “Our chairman, Frank Stronach has the laid the groundwork for an exciting, vibrant future and we will continue to demonstrate that.

“We promoted very aggressively at this meet and it paid off. Our initial goal was to showcase our five big days and make them bigger, and we did that," Verge said.

The 72-day meet produced a total of 22 Pick Six carryovers, the largest being a two-day carryover of $430,581 on Santa Anita Handicap Day, which resulted in a massive total Pick Six pool on March 5 of $3,110,484. 

Jockey Joel Rosario dominated his competition in the rider standings, winning his second straight Santa Anita title with 89 wins, 17 clear of Rafael Bejarano. Rosario finished second in stakes won with nine added-money tallies. Mike Smith finished on top with 10 stakes wins, including the Potrero Grande Handicap (gr. II), which provided him with his 5,000th career win.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert breezed to his record 10th Santa Anita title, winning 48 races, nine more than runner up John Sadler.  Baffert was also the leading stakes-winning trainer, winning eight, three more than Sadler and Ron Ellis.

Hronis Racing led all owners by races won with 10 victories.

Santa Anita will host the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships on Nov. 2-3.

“We look forward to our autumn meet and to hosting the Breeders’ Cup for the sixth time in November," Verge said. "It’ll be an honor to showcase this magnificent facility and to put on another world-class show on NBC.”