Santa Anita’s Autumn Meet will also provide horsemen with a total of six graded Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying races (including the prestigious Lady’s Secret, the Goodwood, the Norfolk, the Oak Leaf, the Yellow Ribbon and the Ancient Title). A win in any of these races automatically qualifies the victor with the opportunity to enter in the Breeders’ Cup race for which he or she is pointing.
Who else to chat with about this than Santa Anita spokesman and longtime friend Mike Willman? So I gave him a call and we discussed not only the new meet but last week’s Kentucky Derby and the chances of winner Animal Kingdom becoming our first triple crown champ in 33 years when Steve Cauthen rode Affirmed for trainer Laz Barrera into the history books. Think about how strange it is that Secretariat broke a 25 year triple crown drought in 1973 followed by back to backers in ’77 and ’78 with Seattle Slew and Affirmed reaching the winner’s circle and not another one since! It’s unfortunate that this year’s 3 year old crop had so many injuries to take away from what could’ve been a stronger 3-race field for history purposes…but folks, that’s horse racing!
Mike Willman with Ted Sobel:
(photos courtesy of Santa Anita and A.P.)