Opening Day: Santa Anita Ready for Heavy Schedule

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There’s no denying the increased responsibilities being placed on Santa Anita as it opens its 77th winter/spring meeting Thursday.

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Jockey Mike Smith atop Game On Dude leads the field down the front stretch of the Breeders’ Cup Classic in November. (Credit: Getty Images)

With the permanent closing of Hollywood Park, the Arcadia track takes on the expanded role of primary proponent for horse racing in Southern California. Track President George Haines said Santa Anita is ready to embrace the challenges.

“What we hope to accomplish is the finest racing program in the United States,” Haines said. “We have the opportunity to race in the months that have traditionally much better weather. We pick up the Triple Crown events that we can build up. We have a better opportunity for our stakes schedule. We view this extremely positive for California racing.”

Santa Anita has picked up spring dates formerly held by Hollywood Park. When its traditional winter meeting ends on April 20, there will be a four-day break before Santa Anita launches a spring meeting from April 25 through June 29. The track will try twilight racing in the spring on Fridays, with first post at 3 p.m. Racing mostly will be conducted Thursdays through Sundays.
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