Santa Anita Park’s Autumn Meet gets off to its traditional fast start in terms of stakes and Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races. The Southern California track offers 11 stakes — seven of those graded — over the first weekend of the 18-day meet.

Santa Anita-Autumn Meet
Santa Anita offers 26 stakes races — 15 graded — during its Autumn Meet that begins Sept. 30. (Image: Benoit Photo)

All told, Santa Anita cards 26 stakes races in its Autumn Meet, which begins Friday, Sept. 30 and runs through Sunday, Nov. 6. Fifteen of the 26 are graded.

Five of those graded stakes the first two weekends are Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge Series races. Three of those are Grade 1s: the Oct. 1 Awesome Again and the Oct. 8 American Pharoah and Rodeo Drive.

The Awesome Again sends its winner to the Breeders’ Cup Classic. The American Pharoah winner earns a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile. And the Rodeo Drive winner earns a berth in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Two Grade 2s come with Breeders’ Cup tickets

The two other Challenge Series races are the Oct. 2 Grade 2 Zenyatta and the Oct. 8 Grade 2 Chandelier Stakes. The Zenyatta tickets its winner for the Distaff, while the Chandelier sends its to the Juvenile Fillies.

There’s the Awesome Again as the opening weekend headliner. But keeping Santa Anita the center of the racing universe that day are five other stakes races. There’s the Grade 2 Eddie D Stakes, sending its 3-year-olds and up 6 1/2 furlongs down the unique hillside turf course. There’s the Grade 2 John Henry, a 1 1/4-mile turf test for 3-year-olds and up.

The Grade 2 Santa Anita Sprint Championship, a six-furlong jaunt and the Grade 2 City of Hope Mile on turf for 3 and up round out the graded offerings. Wrapping up the stakes slate is the non-graded Unzip Me Stakes.

Santa Anita Park 2022 Autumn Meet Key Stakes

Race Grade Distance Eligible Horses
Oct. 1 Awesome Again I 1 1/8 miles 3-and-up
Oct. 2 Zenyatta II 1 1/16 miles 3-and-up fillies & mares
Oct. 8 American Pharoah I 1 1/16 miles 2-year-olds
Oct. 8 Chandelier II 1 1/16 miles 2-year-old fillies
Oct. 8 Rodeo Drive I 1 1/4 miles (turf) 3-and-up fillies & mares

Two more graded stakes headline the Sunday, Oct. 2 schedule: the Zenyatta and the Chillingworth, a 6 1/2 furlong sprint for fillies and mares 3 and up. The ungraded 1 1/2-mile Tokyo City Cup for turf marathoners and the Senator Ken Maddy for fillies and mares 3 and up going 6 1/2 furlongs.

The following weekend features the American Pharoah, Chandelier and Rodeo Drive.

Four Cal-bred stakes are sprinkled around the middle and back half of the Autumn Meet. The Oct. 15 Cal Distaff opens the local-bred slate, followed the next day by the California Flag. The Golden State Juvenile and Golden State Juvenile Fillies complete the series Oct. 29. Both those juvenile races enjoyed purse boosts from $150,000 to $175,000.

Track officials said Santa Anita’s complete 2022 Autumn Stakes Schedule will soon be available at santaanita.com/horsemen.