Ten Things You Should Know: Santa Maria Stakes
By Kevin Martin, Hello Race Fans Contributing Editor
1) The Grade 2 Santa Maria Stakes is an historic race for fillies and mares run at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
2) The Santa Maria was run for the first time in 1934 during the first year of racing at Santa Anita Park. It was run as an age-restricted race prior to 1952 and at a variety of distances before settling on its current 1 1/16 miles in 1957.
3) The race was not run from 1942 to 1945 during the Second World War. During that period, Santa Anita Park was closed for racing and used as a Japanese internment camp. An estimated 20,000 Japanese-Americans were held or processed within the track grounds during the period.
4) Eight members of the racing Hall of Fame have won the Santa Maria. Another Hall of Famer, Affectionately, finished second in 1965. Three consecutive editions from 1968 to 1970 were won by future members of the Hall of Fame (Gamely, Dark Mirage, and Gallant Bloom).
5) From 1965 to 1973, seven mares who finished first or second in the Santa Maria also earned an end-of-year championship for older female.
6) Two-time champion female and Hall of Famer Paseana won the 1992 edition of the Santa Maria. She finished second in the next three editions of the race from 1993 to 1995.
7) The great Susan’s Girl won the race in 1973 and then returned to finish third in 1975. During that same period, a Chilean-bred mare named Tizna finished second in 1974 and 1975. The “Tiz” in Tizna would carry three generations forward to her great-grandson, Tiznow.
8) The reigning Canadian Horse of the Year and American older female Champion Glorious Song won the 1981 edition of the Santa Maria. She was the grand-dam of Serena’s Song, the 1996 winner of the Santa Maria and a member of the U.S. Racing Hall of Fame.
9) Jockey Laffit Pincay has won the Santa Maria six times. His first victory came aboard Susan’s Girl in 1973 and his last in 1985 on board Adored.
10) Legendary California trainer Charlie Whittingham won five editions of the Santa Maria. Four of those wins came in a seven-year span from 1972 to 1978.