ARCADIA, Calif. (Nov. 14, 2012)—Santa Anita Park, which will embark upon its 76th winter/spring meeting on Dec. 26, has announced it will offer a total of 41 graded stakes over the course of its 71-day meet, beginning with the opening day Malibu (3-year-old colts and geldings) and La Brea (3-year-old fillies) Stakes which will serve as the first of nine Grade I events. Both stakes will offer purses of $300,000 and will be run at seven furlongs.

Joining the Malibu and La Brea on opening day is the Grade II, $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes for 3-year-olds at one mile on turf.

The Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Handicap presented by San Manuel Indian Bingo and Casino on March 2, and the Grade I, $750,000 Santa Anita Derby on April 6, trace their origins to Santa Anita’s founding and once again figure prominently among the track’s marquee offerings.

Also included on Santa Anita’s Grade I stakes roster are the $300,000 Santa Monica on Jan. 26, the Las Virgenes and Frank E. Kilroe Mile, which join the Big ’Cap on March 2, the Santa Margarita on March 16, and the Santa Anita Oaks, which shares top billing with the Santa Anita Derby on April 6.

“We’re excited about our opener on Dec. 26 and we intend to build upon the momentum we experienced with the two-day Breeders’ Cup here on Nov. 2 and 3,” said Santa Anita Vice President of Racing, Rick Hammerle. “We decided to move the La Brea from Dec. 31, back to opening day, which is where it was slotted for many years.

“By doing this, we now have two prestigious Grade I stakes on opening day and this should help us get off to a good start. Both our turf course and main track are in great condition and we’re looking forward to welcoming all of our horsemen and fans back the day after Christmas for some world class racing.”

One of the biggest days on the 2013 winter calendar is Sunshine Millions Day, January 26, which will showcase a total of six stakes. The afternoon will feature four California-bred stakes and be highlighted by the Grade I, $300,000 Santa Monica Stakes and the Grade III, $100,000 Santa Ysabel Stakes.

Due to the inception of the Golden State Series, both editions of the California Breeders’ Champion Stakes on Jan. 26 have been increased from $100,000 to $300,000. Both stakes are for 3-year-olds—one for colts and geldings and the other is restricted to fillies.

“Both of these races have traditionally been run on opening day, but with the staggering increase in purse money, they should be a great fit on Sunshine Millions Day,” said Hammerle. “Additionally, we’ve increased the distance for both races, from seven furlongs to a mile.”

Two other California-bred stakes will adorn the Jan. 26 card: The $100,000 Crystal Water, for older horses at 1 1/8 miles on turf and the $100,000 Valentine Dancer, for older fillies and mares at one mile on turf.

Santa Anita’s comprehensive schedule of traditional Santa Anita Derby preps will include races worth a total of 170 Kentucky Derby qualifying points and will begin with the Grade III, $100,000 Sham Stakes (10 points) at one mile on Jan. 5. It’s followed by the Grade II, $200,000 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (10 points) at 1 1/16 miles on Feb. 2, and the Grade II, $300,000 San Felipe Stakes (50 points) at 1 1/16 miles on March 9.

The winner of the Santa Anita Derby will earn 100 Kentucky Derby qualifying points.

“We feel the new Derby points system instituted by Churchill Downs reconfirms the significance of our traditional 3-year-old program and provides our horsemen added incentive to compete here,” said Hammerle.

The 74th running of the Grade II, $150,000 San Juan Capistrano Handicap, Santa Anita’s traditional closing day feature for older horses, will be run at 1 ¾ miles down the Camino Real Turf Course on closing day, April 21.

In addition to its regular stakes schedule, Santa Anita will regularly card overnight stakes throughout the meet. Santa Anita’s complete winter/spring stakes schedule is available at

First post time on Wednesday, Dec. 26, is 12 noon. For more information visit the website or call (626) 574-RACE.