Santa Anita's 2015-16 Winter Meet drew to a close Sunday, with the track posting an eight percent gain in on-track attendance as it continues to focus on growing the sport by bringing new fans to America's most beautiful racing venue. Santa Anita all sources handle was down slightly by one percent.
The 63-day Winter Meet, which began on Dec. 26, included numerous racing highlights, including 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome winning the Grade II San Pasqual Stakes on Jan. 9; 2015 Eclipse Champion Juvenile Nyquist taking the Grade II San Vicente Stakes on Feb. 15; 2015 Eclipse Champion Juvenile Filly, Songbird, winning three stakes, the Grade II Las Virgenes Stakes on Feb. 6, the Grade III Santa Ysabel on March 5, and the Grade I Santa Anita Oaks on April 9; and Exaggerator taking the Grade I, $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9.
For the fourth consecutive year and seventh time overall, Rafael Bejarano led the Winter Meet jockey standings, finishing with 74 wins. He also finished tied with Gary Stevens for most stakes races won, with eight. Bejarano, 34, now has 24 overall Southern California titles.
In the trainer's race, upstart Phil D'Amato took his first Santa Anita training title with 74 winners. D'Amato also led in the stakes-won category, as his stable won eight added money races.
Hronis Racing, LLC led all owners with 12 Winter Meet victories.
With Santa Anita closing until its Spring Meet opener on May 5, Golden Gate Fields will be conducting a Turf Festival over the next three weekends, as the Bay Area track will offer increased purses and provide Southern-California-based horsemen free shipping to and from Golden Gate.
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