Santa Anita Park and the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club have announced they have joined forces to create the $1 Million Wild West Bonus. This will provide $1 million in additional money to the winning connections of any horse that manages to sweep three of Southern California’s most prestigious Grade I races; the $400,000 Santa Anita Handicap on March 6, the $300,000 Hollywood Gold Cup (at Santa Anita) on May 31 and the $750,000 TVG Pacific Classic at Del Mar on Aug. 21.
Including the $1 million bonus, any horse sweeping these three races would bank a total of $1,870,000.
All three races are run at the North American classic distance of a mile and one quarter. The Santa Anita Handicap, which will be run for the 84th time, is for horses aged four and up, while the Hollywood Gold Cup and TVG Pacific Classic are open to horses three and up.
Santa Anita has also announced that it will boost the $75,000 China Doll Stakes, to be run on Big ‘Cap Day, March 6, by $25,000, from $75,000 to $100,000. The China Doll, for 3-year-old fillies at one mile on turf, is one of five stakes, four of them graded.
Additionally, Santa Anita will raise purses on all overnight races to be run on Big ‘Cap Day by $15,000 per race in an effort to ensure big fields and to reward those owners and trainers that continue to support Santa Anita on its biggest days.
For additional information on the $1 Million Wild West Bonus, please contact the Racing Office at Santa Anita by calling (626) 574-6352.
Check out AmWager for a $500 sign up bonus and great rebates.
Baffert Runs One-Two in San Vicente
Racing as a team the final quarter of a mile, a pair of talented Bob Baffert runners, heavily favored Concert Tour and Freedom Fighter, were separated by a half length at the finish of Saturday’s Grade II, $200,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita. Ridden by Joel Rosario, Gary and Mary West’s homebred Concert Tour got seven furlongs in 1:24.06 and stamped himself as an A-lister among Kentucky Derby hopefuls and provided Baffert with his record 11th San Vicente win.
With Freedom Fighter and Drayden Van Dyke darting to the lead from the rail, Concert Tour, who broke from the outside in a field of five, was just one length off his stablemate and The Chosen Vron three furlongs out. The Chosen Vron, who had driven up the rail inside Freedom Fighter, dropped back a bit leaving the quarter pole and from that point it was all Baffert to the wire.
“Freedom Fighter just broke like a rocket ship, he’s really fast and been doing really well,” said Baffert. “Baffert was trying to teach his horse how to rate a little bit and I thought they were going to get into a speed duel. I think it was a good race for both of them.
“I learned a lot about (Concert Tour), how he wants to run and maybe he doesn’t need blinkers…Now we go to where I can stretch them out…I think from here you can take that big jump that you want to take, he’s going to have to really step it up for now, but now he’s ready for it.”
Concert Tour Wins San Vicente
A 3 ½ length first-out maiden winner going six furlongs on Jan. 15, Concert Tour was off at 2-5 and paid $2.80, $2.40 and $2.10.
“After the other horse (Freedom Fighter) went to the lead, I thought the two horse (The Chosen Vron) was going to go faster, but he took his time and I thought I was in a good spot,” said Rosario. “He was a little green and cut away a little bit at the last part when I took the lead. I thought it was a good race.”
By Street Sense, out of the Tapit mare Purse Strings, Concert Tour picked up $120,000 for the win, increasing his earnings to $156,600.
Freedom Fighter, who had been idle since breaking his maiden at first asking going five furlongs on Aug. 1, ran huge off the bench, finishing 2 ¾ lengths in front of The Chosen Vron. Off at 5-1, Freedom Fighter paid $3.60 and $2.20.
The Chosen Vron, who didn’t appear to like being inside a quarter mile from home, kept to his task through the lane in a solid effort. Ridden by Mike Smith, he was off at 7-2 and paid $2.10 to show while finishing six lengths clear of Found My Ball.
Fractions on the race were 23.41, 45.98 and 1:10.56.