Santa Anita Park Racetrack is known as "The Great Race Place" and the track lives up to the reputation. With the picturesque San Gabriel Mountains in the background, the Arcadia, California racetrack has been the home of some of the greatest and most thrilling moments in Thoroughbred racing history. The track opened in December of 1934, almost immediately after California legalized pair-mutuel wagering.
Santa Anita Park Racetrack Picks
Betting on races from Santa Anita Park and making Santa Anita Park Racetrack picks is safe, secure, and easy with one of these recommended racebooks even if you cannot make it to "The Great Race Place" yourself. Santa Anita Park has world-class racing from December through June, and then again in September and October. You will want to be ready to view Santa Anita Park live odds and Santa Anita fields and post positions.
How to Bet at Santa Anita Park
Santa Anita Park has a one-mile dirt course, a seven-furlong turf course, and a unique downhill turf course that allows for turf sprints or marathon races. The best part of betting Santa Anita is that workouts are open to the public, so anyone can go and see the horses preparing for their races in the morning. Catching a good looking workout before anyone else can translate to a big win in the afternoon at the races. Handicapping via workouts is something done often in North America but not in other parts of the world.
Santa Anita expert picks come from Jeff Siegel, Michelle Yu, Frank Scatoni, and George Otuzar in Spanish. They have been working as a team at Santa Anita for many years.
Learning how to bet Santa Anita Park includes knowing the Santa Anita wagering menu and Santa Anita minimum bets. Win, place, and show bets are $2 each. There is Exacta ($1), Trifecta (50 cents), Superfecta (10 cents), and Super High 5 wagering (50 cents).
Santa Anita offers rolling doubles ($2 minimum), meaning picking the winner in consecutive races throughout the card, as well as Rolling Pick 3s which is not available at every track. There is a Daily Pick 4 (50 cents), Pick 5 (50 cents) and Pick 6 ($2). Santa Anita has a jackpot Pick 6, meaning that for every day there is not a unique winner - as in, only one winner of the wager - 70% is paid out and the rest is carried over into the pool for the next day. If the jackpot is hit with one unique winning ticket, the bettor gets 100% of the pool.
Santa Anita also has numerous betting contests throughout the year. The ShowVivor contest is free to join and offers $5,000 in prizes. There is also a $40 Handicapping contest on some Saturday and Sundays, and a $3,000 American Football contest in the winter.
Santa Anita Betting Tips
The best Santa Anita betting tips are to pay attention to the top jockeys and trainers, and which surfaces they do best on. Jockey Flavien Prat, who led the 2019-2020 Santa Anita meeting, is well known for being best on the grass, while second-place rider Abel Cedillo is best on the main dirt track. Joel Rosario finished third in the standings with earnings. Mike Smith only finished fifth, but the veteran jockey has an extremely high percentage because he rides just a few mounts and the very best horses. Drayden Van Dyke and Rafael Bejarano both do well.
As for trainers, Bob Baffert is king at Santa Anita Park. The Hall of Fame trainer is high percentage, earns the most of anyone, and should be feared in nearly every race he enters. Behind him are Richard Baltas, John Sadler, Doug O'Neill, and Phil D'Amato. Peter Miller has been doing very well in recent years, while Richard Mandella only has the top class runners that he brings along slowly. Michael McCarthy is another up and comer doing better each year.
As far as Santa Anita post positions, posts 1 through 6 do very well at sprints on the dirt. Middle and outside posts do better in turf sprints, while the middle stalls are best for any route race.
The Santa Anita Best Bet today is one where a horse has good connections, a good post position, good workouts, and offers a little bit of a price.
Santa Anita Best Races
Santa Anita is home to some of the best races in North America. It runs 15 Grade 1 races during the year without the Breeders' Cup.
Those races are the American Oaks (December, fillies on the grass), American Pharoah Stakes (September, 2-year-old colts), Awesome Again Stakes (September, older males), Beholder Mile (spring, for older mares), Chandelier Stakes (September, 2-year-old fillies), Frank E Kilroe Mile (March, one mile on the grass), the Gamely (May, older fillies on the grass), the La Brea (December, three-year-old fillies), Malibu Stakes (December, three-year-olds), Rodeo Drive (fall, fillies on the grass), Santa Anita Derby (April), Santa Anita Handicap (March), Hollywood Gold Cup (May or June), Santa Anita Sprint Championship (October), and the Shoemaker Mile (May).
There are also 32 Grade 2 races, including the Santa Anita Oaks and the Zenyatta Stakes. Many of the Grade 2 races were former Grade 1 races.
The Santa Anita Derby is California's leading prep race for the Kentucky Derby. Many runners have exited the Santa Anita Derby and gone on to win the Kentucky Derby. Just in the last few years, those horses include Triple Crown winner Justify, Preakness Stakes winner Exaggerator, Derby, Preakness, and Dubai World Cup winner California Chrome, Derby, and Preakness winner I'll Have Another, Pioneerof the Nile, who sired American Pharoah, and Giacomo.
Over history, other important Santa Anita Derby winners are Point Given, A. P. Indy, Sunday Silence, Winning Colors, Snow Chief, Affirmed, Sham, Majestic Prince, Swaps, and Silky Sullivan. The 2020 Santa Anita Derby went to popular choice Honor A. P.
The Santa Anita Handicap was the first $100,000 race in America and was run at $1 million for many years. A movie has been made about Seabiscuit's rise to stardom and chase for the Santa Anita Handicap. Game on Dude is the only horse to win the race three times. It has been won by John Henry, Lava Man and Milwaukee Brew twice. Other famous winners include Alysheba, Best Pal, TIznow, Spectacular Bid, Affirmed, Quicken Tree, Ack Ack, and Round Table.
The Santa Anita Oaks is California's leading prep race for the Kentucky Oaks. In 1988, Santa Anita Oaks winner Winning Colors went on to win the Kentucky Derby against males. The race has recently been won by modern greats such as Midnight Bisou, Songbird, Beholder, Surfside, and Serena's Song. Trainer D. Wayne Lukas has won the race eight times.
Santa Anita Breeders' Cup
Santa Anita has held the Breeders' Cup a record 10 times. It first happened in 1986, and most recently in 2019. One of the most famous Breeders' Cup wins in history was when the undefeated mare Zenyatta beat a field of international colts in the 2009 Breeders' Cup Classic. She had previously won the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic on the same track.
Other top Santa Anita Breeders' Cup winners include Arrogate in the 2016 Classic, Beholder by a nose over Songbird in the 2016 Distaff, Wise Dan going back to back with wins in the 2012 and 2013 Mile, and trainer Richard Mandella winning four Breeders' Cup races on one day in 2003. The biggest Breeders' Cup upset of all time was in 1993 when Arcangues won the Classic at 133-1.
In 2008, Santa Anita ran the Breeders' Cup on a synthetic surface, and European invaders won five of the races including when Raven's Pass won the Breeders' Cup Classic over Curlin.
Santa Anita History
Santa Anita opened on Christmas Day in 1934. One year later, the first Santa Anita Handicap - better known as the Big Cap or at the time, the Hundred Grander - was run for the first time. It has been run continually since 1935 save for when Santa Anita closed in 1942 due to the Second World War. It was reopened in 1945.
The downhill turf course was added to Santa Anita in 1953. In the 1960s, the track added a fall meet which would eventually become a premier meet with numerous Breeders' Cup prep races starting in the 1980s. After the closure of Hollywood Park in 2014, Santa Anita picked up those dates, extending their meet from early April until late June.
Betting at Santa Anita is a favorite past-time for many locals, and checking the Santa Anita live odds is easier with an online betting account to play Santa Anita racecards.