Few races can match the importance of the Santa Anita Handicap, each when it comes to its historical past and its continued position of prominence on the nationwide racing calendar. Referred to as “The Big ‘Cap” since its inception in 1935, the 1 1/4-mile take a look at of pace and stamina is yearly one of many first Grade 1 races within the nation for older horses. The 2012 version, set for March 3, carries a handbag of $750,000 and can characteristic final 12 months’s winner, Recreation on Dude, who was finalist for champion older horse in 2011. The Santa Anita Handicap immediately grew to become one of the essential races for older horses within the nation when phrase bought out the purse for the inaugural operating can be $100,000, a pot of cash exceptional in Thoroughbred racing on the time. Because of this, the Santa Anita Handicap was referred to as “The Hundred-Grander” by racetrackers and followers. The 2012 Santa Anita Handicap is anticipated to attract a big and aggressive discipline of 10 contenders, which incorporates at the very least one East Coast invader. Nonetheless, the main focus will probably be on Recreation On Dude for coach Bob Baffert. Recreation On Dude, who exits a pointy win within the Grade 2 San Antonio Stakes in his seasonal bow Feb. 5, will try to turn out to be simply the fourth horse to ever win two Santa Anita Handicaps. The one earlier horses to perform the feat had been John Henry (1981-82), Milwaukee Brew (2002-03), and Lava Man (2006-07). It very may occur. Baffert has indicated Recreation on Dude is even higher this 12 months and goes to take some beating. Different main contenders anticipated for the 2012 Santa Anita Handicap are Final Eagle, Setsuko and Ron the Greek. Final Eagle stamped himself as a significant contender when routing the sector within the Grade 2 Strub Stakes Feb. 4, which was his fifth win in his final six begins and his first attempt on standard filth. Setsuko received an Allowance race at Santa Anita on Feb. Four that adopted greater than 5 months on the sidelines. Skilled by Corridor of Fame inductee Richard Mandella, Setsuko was second to Recreation on Dude in final 12 months’s Santa Anita Handicap. Ron the Greek is scheduled to ship in from Gulfstream Park in Florida for coach Invoice Mott. The son of Full Mandate, who’s trying to find his first graded stakes win, exits a superb second to Mucho Macho Man within the Sunshine Hundreds of thousands Basic on Jan. 28. The entire contenders will probably be attempting to interrupt the Santa Anita Handicap document of 1:58.60 set in 1978 by Affirmed, who the earlier season received the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes to turn out to be Thoroughbred racing’s final Triple Crown winner. Jockey Invoice Shoemaker and coach Charlie Whittingham, two of the legendary names in California racing, lead their respective classes in variety of wins. Shoemaker received 11 Santa Anita Handicaps between 1954-1985 and Whittingham received eight between 1957-1985. Charles S. Howard, who’s greatest referred to as the proprietor of Seabiscuit, received the Santa Anita Handicap 3 times to guide all house owners. Howard received with Kayak II in 1939, Seabiscuit in 1940 and Noor in 1950.