Santa Anita Fall Meet Opens Oct. 1 With Return to Hillside Turf

Santa Anita Reaccredited by NTRA Safety & Integrity AllianceARCADIA, Calif. (Sept. 8, 2021)–Santa Anita Park’s 16-day Autumn Meet will get off to a fast start on Friday, Oct. 1, as a total of four stakes will be offered on a tremendous nine-race card. The Grade I, $300,000 American Pharoah Stakes, one of three Breeders’ Cup “Win & You’re In” Challenge Race qualifiers, will headline the day’s racing. Named for the 2015 Triple Crown Champion, the American Pharoah is a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In qualifier to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Del Mar on Nov. 5.

With first post time at 1 p.m., walk-up admission is welcomed, with free admission and General Parking on opening day. In addition to the American Pharoah, the Grade II, $200,000 Eddie D Stakes, for 3-year-olds and up, will be contested at 6 ½ furlongs down Santa Anita’s hillside turf course. Named for the legendary retired Hall of Fame jockey Eddie Delahoussaye, the Eddie D provides a platform for those horses considering the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint on Nov. 6.

“Our fans, horsemen and Eddie Delahoussaye himself have told us they’d love to see a return to racing down this European-style course which has been unique to Santa Anita for more than six decades,” said Aidan Butler, Chief Operating Officer, Racing Operations for 1/ST Racing. “The Eddie D will be one of four turf sprint stakes to be run on the Camino Real hillside turf course throughout our Autumn Meet.”

Two-year-old fillies will go postward opening day in the Grade II, $200,000 Chandelier Stakes, a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re in qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 5 and 2-year-olds will also be competing at five furlongs on turf in the $100,000 Speakeasy Stakes, a Win & You’re In qualifier to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on Nov. 5.

With the two-day Breeders’ Cup World Championships set for Nov. 5 & 6 at Del Mar, Santa Anita will be offering a total of 14 stakes over the course of its opening weekend, Oct. 1 through Oct. 3.

With special early first post time at 12:30 p.m., a total of five stakes will be offered on Saturday, Oct. 2; the Grade I, $300,000 Awesome Again, a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In qualifier to the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and one eighth, the Grade I, $300,000 Rodeo Drive, a Breeders’ Cup Win & You’re In qualifier for fillies and mares at a mile and one quarter on turf, the Grade II, $200,000 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, Win & You’re In qualifier for 3-year-olds and up at six furlongs, the Grade II, $200,000 John Henry Turf Championship, named for the legendary two-time Horse of the Year, is for 3-year-olds and up at a mile and one quarter on turf and the Grade II, $200,000 City of Hope Mile (turf), for 3-year-olds and up.

On Sunday, Oct. 3, the legendary multiple Eclipse Award winning mare Zenyatta will be feted, with the Grade II, $200,000 Zenyatta Stakes, a Win & You’re In qualifier for fillies and mares at 1 1/16 miles who are pointing to the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Distaff. Fillies and mares will also be center stage in the Grade III, $100,000 Chillingworth Stakes at 6 ½ furlongs, a race which honors the memory of longtime Oak Tree Racing Association board member and prominent owner/breeder, Sherwood Chillingworth.

A pair of one mile turf stakes will also be offered on Oct. 3 for 2-year-olds–the Surfer Girl and the Zuma Beach, as well as the $75,000 Unzip Me, for 3-year-old fillies at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf.

In addition to the Eddie D and Unzip Me Stakes, a pair of Cal-bred stakes, the $100,000 California Distaff Handicap on Oct. 16 and the $100,000 California Flag Handicap on Oct. 17 will also be contested at 6 ½ furlongs down the hillside turf. Additionally, selected allowance races will be run down the hillside throughout the course of the 16-day meet.

Santa Anita’s spacious Infield area will be open each Saturday and Sunday, through closing day, Oct. 31. For complete details on Santa Anita’s opening weekend, including pricing and dining and seating reservations, please visit or call (626) 574-RACE.

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Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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