In a collaborative effort, Santa Anita Park and Del Mar Thoroughbred Club have created a contest where any horse who sweeps three of Southern California's classic Grade 1 races: the Big' Cap, the Gold Cup, and the Pacific Classic, would receive a $1-million bonus.
The scheduling of the races remains basically unchanged, as with the distances, but the purses are set as follows:
The $400K Santa Anita Handicap, 1 ¼ miles - March 6
The $300K Hollywood Gold Cup, 1 ¼ miles - May 31
The $750K Pacific Classic, 1 ¼ miles - August 21
Should a horse sweep all three and collect the bonus, the total amount banked would be $1.87 million.
This is a step in the right direction as far as West Coast racing is concerned. The added incentive may inspire horses to return and age three, four, five and upward to compete in this race series.
This is a celebration of the "classic distance" race. A mile and a quarter, the best three year olds in training can clash with their elders.
We've seen the fastest Santa Anita Handicap ever won was 1:58.17 by GAME ON DUDE (2014). The fastest Hollywood Gold Cup ever won was 1:58.20 by QUACK (1972) and the fastest Pacific Classic ever won was 1:59.11 by CANDY RIDE (2003).