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Santa Anita Opens Winter Meet Tomorrow

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We've suffered the disappointment of the apocalypse not happening. We've had to endure a traumatic meal with our family both extended and nuclear. Thanks to the folks at Santa Anita, they are helping us all in Southern California avoid a third-strike trauma of dealing with after-Christmas sales and shoppers.

Santa Anita will be opening their winter/spring meet at Noon on Wednesday with a nine-race card, three of which are graded stakes, as they ramp up towards the Triple Crown races in the spring.

Santa Anita will not be hosting any of the prestigious Triple Crown races: the Kentucky Derby; Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. But that doesn't mean Santa Anita hasn't made an impact in those races. Last year both the winner, I'll Have Another, and runner up, Bodemister, in the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness came out of Santa Anita.

With an updated points system for qualifying for the Kentucky Derby, several races during this winter meet at Santa Anita will award points:

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* Sham Stakes on Jan. 5
* Robert B. Lewis Stakes on Feb. 2
* San Felipe Stakes on Mar. 9
* Santa Anita Derby on Apr. 6

I'll Have Another, of course, won the Santa Anita Derby by a nose over Creative Cause before taking the world by storm winning the first two jewels of the Triple Crown last spring.

For the meet opener on Wednesday, Santa Anita will be giving out 2013 wall calendars and have a Fascinators and Fedoras hat contest in the Turf Club.

The Grade I $300,000 Malibu Stakes headlines the opener, a seven-furlong sprint for three-year olds. The 3-1 favorite The Lumber Guy is coming off a one-length loss to 17-1 upset Trinniberg in the Xpressbet Breeders' Cup Sprint in November.

For the three-year old fillies, the Grade I $300,000 La Brea Stakes opens up the stakes for the day with 4-5 favorite My Miss Aurelia leading the pack. Having been undefeated headed into the Breeders' Cup Ladies Classic, she couldn't catch up with Royal Delta who won the race for the second straight year.

Sandwiched in between the action is the Grade II $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes, a one-mile turf race for three-year olds.

It should be noted that if girlfriends and/or best gay friends want to get some shopping done, you can deposit them next door at the Westfield shopping mall. Santa Anita are expecting a crowd of 20,000 to 30,000 to cross the turnstiles. Gates will open at 10 a.m. and the first post is at Noon.