With seven Winter Meet racing days in the books, momentum continues to build at Santa Anita, as Saturday's all sources pari-mutuel handle of $12.7 million marked a 23 percent increase over last year's $10.3 million. Along with the fact a number of tracks back east were shuttered due to inclement weather, robust field size (9.4 horses per race today) continues to be a major factor in Santa Anita's early monetary ascent.
Saturday's racing, blessed with great weather and quality horses, was highlighted by Bob Baffert's undefeated Derby contender McKinzie, who rolled to a 3 ½ length win under Mike Smith in the Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes, which was carded as the fifth race on a nine-race program. Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, McKinzie picked up 10 Kentucky Derby qualifying points as he notched his third overall win.
The Grade II, $200,000 San Gabriel Stakes went to another favorite, French-bred Itsinthepost, who registered a 1 ¼ length score under Tyler Baze at 2-1. Trained by Jeff Mullins and owned by Red Baron's Barn, LLC, 6-year-old Itsinthepost notched his fourth graded stakes win in the San Gabriel.
For the seventh day in a row, Santa Anita's Single Ticket Pick Six Jackpot went untouched, resulting in a Jackpot carryover into Sunday of $193,956.
Note: With a conventional Pick Six carryover of $70,072 coming into Saturday, $389,387 in “new money” was wagered, creating a total Pick Six pool of $459,459. There were 155 winning tickets Saturday, each paying $1,795.20.
First post time on Sunday is at 12:30 p.m. Approximate post time for race four, leg one in the Pick Six, is at 2 p.m. PT. For additional information, please visit www.santaanita.com.
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