Santa Anita Prepares for New Season

The $1-million Santa Anita Handicap, to be run March 2, will be the richest of the 61 stakes races offered during the 2001-02 Santa Anita Winter/Spring Meeting that begins Wednesday, Dec. 26. The 85-day meeting, which concludes April 21, features 43 graded races and total stakes purses of over $11-million.

The 65th running of the Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I) culminates the series of distance races for older horses that begins with the $200,000 San Pasqual Handicap (gr. II) on Jan. 5, and includes the $250,000 San Antonio Handicap (gr. II) on Feb. 3.

The $750,000 Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) is set for April 6. The road to the 65th renewal of the Derby begins with the $100,000 San Miguel Stakes (gr. III) on Jan. 13, and progresses in distance with four grade II races ending with the $250,000 San Felipe Stakes on March 17.

The Strub Series for 4-year-old colts gets underway with the Malibu at seven furlongs, continues with the $200,000 San Fernando Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 12, and concludes with the $400,000 Strub Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 2. The Strub purse is down this year from its $500,000 value last year.

The La Cañada Series for fillies is the distaff counterpart to the Strub Series. The La Brea Stakes (gr. I) at seven furlongs on Dec. 29, gets things underway, and is followed by the $150,000 El Encino Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/16 miles on Jan. 20, and the $200,000 La Cañada Stakes (gr. II) at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 9.