Ten Things You Should Know: Santa Margarita Handicap
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
Originally published on March 25, 2011
1) The Santa Margarita Handicap is a prestigious race for fillies and mares held at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
2) The race is restricted to fillies and mares 4-years-old and up and is currently run at a distance of 1 1/8 miles.
3) The first running came in 1935, the same year of the inaugural Santa Anita Handicap. It has been run at four different distances but historically, the predominate distance has been 1 1/8 miles.
4) Five mares have won the race twice, the last in 1992 and 1994 when the Argentine-bred Paseana won the Santa Margarita for trainer Ron McAnally. The other four: Our Betters (1956, 1957), Curious Clover (1964, 1965), Tizna (1977, 1975), and Bayakoa (1989, 1990).
5) Of the nine fillies or mares awarded Horse of the Year since 1935, four won the Santa Margarita during their HOY campaigns: Busher (1945), Lady’s Secret (1986), Azeri (2002), and Zenyatta (2010).
6) Calumet Farms’ Two Lea won the 1950 Santa Margarita, one of her 15 career wins from 26 starts. She was champion 3-year-old filly in 1949 and champion older horse in 1950. She won the prestigious Hollywood Gold Cup against males in 1952.
7) Bed o’ Roses won the 1952 Santa Margarita. She was the 1949 champion 2-year-old filly and the 1951 champion female. She won the 1950 Lawrence Realization against colts and finished second in the Travers Stakes.
8) Three-time champion Susan’s Girl, who dominated the filly and mare division during three seasons in the early 1970s, won the 1973 Santa Margarita. She also won the Santa Barbara and Santa Maria that year, two other major stakes for her sex in California.
9) Lady’s Secret, the greatest racing daughter of Secretariat, holds the stakes record at the current distance of 1 1/8 miles. She finished the race in 1:47 in 1986.
10) Trainer Ron McAnally trained six winners of the Santa Margarita in a 10-year span from 1989 to 1998, the most by any trainer. John Shirreffs is not far behind with five wins from five different winners.