Santa Anita in conjunction with the California Marketing Committee and the Thoroughbred Owners of California, will boost purses for seven overnight races on Santa Anita Handicap day by $105,000.It's the second year in a row that purses have been augmented for Big Cap day, which is March 4."What we are doing, thanks to the CMC and the TOC, is pumping up our overnight purses with the belief that mutuel handle will increase substantially," said Rick Hammerle, Santa Anita's racing secretary. "The response from horsemen and the public last year was overwhelming, and we were able to come up with one of the best cards of the entire year. It worked so well that everyone agreed we should do it again."
Last year's total Big 'Cap day pari-mutuel handle of $22,675,695 was an increase from the previous year of more than $1.1 million. "What we're trying to do is make big days bigger," said Hammerle. "We're supercharging our purses. We are adding $15,000 to each non-stakes race on that day and, if last year was any indication, we should have a huge day." The $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I), which is run at 1 ¼ miles, was inaugurated in 1935 and will be contested for the 69th time in 2006. High Limit, Lava Man, and 2005 Kentucky Derby (gr. I) winner Giacomo are among those expected to run.In addition to the Big 'Cap, Santa Anita hosts three additional graded stakes that day: the Frank E. Kilroe Mile (gr. IT), the Santa Catalina Stakes (gr. II), and the Baldwin Stakes (gr. IIIT).