by Santa Anita Park Press Release
April 3, 2019
ARCADIA, Calif. (April 3, 2019) — Two of the top older horses on the West Coast, John Sadler’s Gift Box and Bob Baffert’s McKinzie, head a field of six 4-year-olds and up in the 82nd running of the Grade I, $600,000 Santa Anita Handicap this Saturday. Originally run in 1934, the Big ’Cap, America’s longest continually run “hundred grander,” will again be contested at a mile and one quarter.
Idle since winning the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Antonio Stakes here on Dec. 26, 6-year-old Gift Box appears to be at the top of his game and although he was well beaten in his only other try at 1 ¼ miles at age three, give every indication he should relish the distance at this stage of his career.
Beaten a half length by former Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile Champ Battle of Midway as the 1-2 favorite in the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles San Pasqual Stakes over a sloppy track on Feb. 2, 4-year-old McKinzie has trained extremely well for the Big ’Cap, which will also be his second try at 1 ¼ miles.
Owner: Hronis Racing, LLC
Trainer: John Sadler
Originally headquartered with trainer Chad Brown in New York, this 6-year-old Kentucky-bred horse by Twirling Candy made his first start for Sadler in the San Antonio and was dismissed at odds of 6-1. With the San Antonio counting as his first graded stakes win, Gift Box is now 14-4-5-2 overall. Although he was fourth, beaten 18 ¾ lengths by superstar Arrogate in the 2016 Travers Stakes going 1 ¼ miles, Gift Box appears primed for a huge effort and will no doubt be head and head with McKinzie in the battle of the tote.
Owner: Karl Watson, Mike Pegram and Paul Weitman
Trainer: Bob Baffert
A smashing 4 ¾ length winner of the Grade I, seven furlong Malibu Stakes here on Dec. 26, this ultra-talented 4-year-old colt by Street Sense was outrun late by Battle of Midway in the San Pasqual, but has trained in sensational fashion for Baffert since. A two-time Grade I winner and four-time graded stakes winner, McKinzie simply did not fire when distanced in his only other try at a mile and one quarter, the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Classic three starts back at Churchill Downs on Nov. 3. The leading money earner in the field with $1,126,000, he has an overall mark of 8-5-2-0 and will likely be the post time favorite on Saturday.
THE GRADE I SANTA ANITA HANDICAP WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDER
Race 10 of 11 Approximate post time 4:30 p.m. PT
Special early first post time for an 11-race card on Saturday is at 12 noon. Admission gates will open at 10 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.