Photo: Benoit Photo
With $6,746,114 in “new money” wagered, Santa Anita’s closing day 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six Jackpot amounted to a total of $7,888,308 by fifth race post time, ensuring a massive all sources pari-mutuel pool of $18,948,679 on Sunday that helped the track post increases in both on-track and all sources handle for the 22-day Autumn Meet.
In all, 22 racing days produced $206.7 million in overall pari-mutuel handle, and all sources average daily handle was up 7 percent compared to last year. A total of $23.7 million was wagered on-track, which marked a 3 percent average daily handle increase over 2017.
With 19 racing days last year, all sources handle was $167.3 million, while last year’s on-track take was $19.8 million.
A parade of short priced horses on closing day resulted in 10,466 winning tickets in the 20 cent Rainbow Pick Six, with each ticket returning $601.10.
Last weekend’s Breeders’ Cup results in Kentucky also underscored the depth of equine talent at Santa Anita.
On Friday, Gary and Mary West’s Game Winner, trained by Bob Baffert, won the $2 million Juvenile, which followed a win here in the Grade 1 American Pharoah Stakes Sept. 29.
On Saturday, Peter Miller pulled off an incredible year-to-year double, as Stormy Liberal and Roy H won their respective races, the Turf Sprint and the Sprint, for the second year in a row. Both horses are owned by Gary Hartunian’s Rockingham Ranch and David Bernsen, LLC.
Trainer Michael McCarthy took Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile with the Santa Anita-based City of Light. Owned by Mr. and Mrs. William K. Warren, City of Light won last year’s Grade 1 Malibu Stakes on Dec. 26 as well as the Grade 1 Triple Bend Stakes here on March 10.
John Sadler put an exclamation point on the day Saturday, as Accelerate, owned by Hronis Racing, took the $6 million Classic. Based at The Great Race Place, Accelerate won three out of his five Grade 1 victories this year in Arcadia: the Santa Anita Handicap on March 10, the Gold Cup at Santa Anita on May 26 and the Awesome Again here on Sept. 29.
Flavien Prat, who scored a stakes double by winning both the Grade 2 Goldikova Stakes and the Twilight Derby on closing day, finished as the meet’s leading rider with 20 wins, two better than a resurgent Rafael Bejarano. In the trainer’s division Jerry Hollendorfer and Peter Miller dead-heated atop the standings with 15 Autumn Meet wins, one clear of Doug O’Neill’s 14.
On-track attendance figures for the 22-day season totaled 158,000, compared to 137,000 attendees in the 2017 season, which had three fewer racing days.