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San Juan Capistrano Handicap

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Title: San Juan Capistrano Handicap  
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Subject: Triplicate, Melbourne Cup, Kent Desormeaux, Santa Anita Park, Fred Astaire
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San Juan Capistrano Handicap

San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap
Grade II race
Location Santa Anita Park
Arcadia, California, United States
Inaugurated 1935
Race type Thoroughbred - Flat racing
Race information
Distance about 1 34 miles (about 14 furlongs)
Surface Turf
Track downhill chute, right and left-handed
Qualification Four-years-old & up
Weight Assigned
Purse $200,000

The San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap is an American invitational handicap Thoroughbred horse race run annually on turf at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California. It is North America's longest graded stakes race. Open to horses age four and older, the Grade II event currently offers a purse of $200,000. Run during the second half of April as the traditional closing-day feature at Santa Anita Park, at about 1 34 miles it is the longest grass race in America. Since 1965 it has been an invitational handicap.

It is now run in late June due to the reshuffling of events inherited from the closure of Hollywood Park Racetrack in 2014.

Inaugurated in 1935, for 1940 only it was limited to three-year-olds and for three-year-olds and older in all other years prior to 1968. From its inception through 1953, the race was contested on dirt, then in 1954 it was converted to a turf event. Over the years, it has been run at various distances:

  • 1 18 miles : 1935-1939
  • 1 116 miles : 1940
  • 1 12 miles : 1939, 1941, 1945, 1946, 1949, 1954
  • 1 34 miles : 1950-1953, 1955–present

The San Juan Capistrano is run around four turns, and begins at the top of Santa Anita's downhill chute, normally used for 6 1/2 furlong sprint races. From the start point, horses begin their descent down the hill. Within the first two furlongs of the race, horses turn right - one of only two locations in North American horse racing that a right turn is used (the other is at Kentucky Downs). After a brief straight run, there is a gentle turn to the left until the horses cross the dirt course and enter the main turf oval. Horses then run one full lap of the turf course to complete the 1 34 mile distance.

In 1964, the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap was run in two divisions.

With the increasing emphasis on speed horses bred to compete in the Kentucky Derby and Breeders' Cup Classic distance of 1 14 miles on dirt, during the last two decades longer races run on grass or dirt in North America have been in decline. Once a Grade I event, the about 1 34 miles San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap now holds a Grade II classification. Since 2007, the winner of the San Juan Capistrano has received ballot free entry into Australia's greatest horse race and the staying championship of the world, the Melbourne Cup. As of 2008, no San Juan Capistrano winner has made the trip to Flemington for the Melbourne Cup.

At age eight, Niarkos (1968) and Mashkour (1991) are the oldest horses to win the event.

The March 12, 1966, edition of the San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap was seen by 60,792 fans, the largest crowd of the season, who turned out to say farewell to retiring [1]


Speed record:

Most wins:

Most wins by a jockey:

Most wins by a trainer:

  • 14 - Charles Whittingham (1957, 1959, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1975, 1978, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1989)

Most wins by an owner:


2014 Big Kick 5 Victor Espinoza Michael Machowsky Marchosky/Shaw/Walters/Lo Hi Stable 2:46.78
2013 Interaction (ARG) 7 Joseph Talamo Ron McAnally Pozo de Luna 2:44.89
2012 Bourbon Bay 6 Joel Rosario Neil Drysdale David & Jill Heerensperger 2:45.70
2011 Juniper Pass 4 Rafael Bejarano Ray Bell Betty & Robert Irvin 2:47.74
2010 Bourbon Bay 4 Rafael Bejarano Neil Drysdale Jill Heerensperger 2:44.52
2009 Midships 4 Victor Espinoza Bobby Frankel Juddmonte Farms 2:49.26
2008 Big Booster 7 Rafael Bejarano Mike Mitchell S. & W. Anastasi/J. Ukegawa 2:45.50
2007 On the Acorn 6 Victor Espinoza Mike Mitchell Indizguys Stable 2:48.02
2006 T. H. Approval 5 Alex Solis Eduardo Inda Tadahiro Hotehama 2:45.29
2005 T. H. Approval 4 Rene Douglas Eduardo Inda Tadahiro Hotehama 2:45.02
2004 Meteor Storm 5 Jose Valdivia, Jr. Wallace Dollase Jarvis, Margolis, et al. 2:45.98
2003 Passinetti 7 Brice Blanc Ben D. A. Cecil Gary A. Tanaka 2:46.97
2002 Ringaskiddy 6 Ed Delahoussaye Juan J. Garcia Garcia/L. L. Scofield 2:44.49
2001 Bienamado 5 Chris McCarron J. Paco Gonzalez McCaffery & Toffan/Sangster 2:42.96
2000 Sunshine Street 5 Jerry Bailey Neil D. Drysdale Pat Garvey 2:49.06
1999 Single Empire 5 Kent Desormeaux Neil D. Drysdale R. Sangster/G. Tanaka 2:45.93
1998 Amerique 4 Ed Delahoussaye Ron McAnally VHW Stables 2:47.08
1997 Marlin 4 Ed Delahoussaye D. Wayne Lukas Michael Tabor 2:44.56
1996 Raintrap 6 Alex Solis Robert J. Frankel Juddmonte Farms 2:46.40
1995 Red Bishop 7 Mike E. Smith Saeed bin Suroor Godolphin Racing 2:48.02
1994 Bien Bien 5 Chris McCarron J. Paco Gonzalez McCaffery & Toffan 2:46.69
1993 Kotashaan 5 Kent Desormeaux Richard Mandella La Presle Farm 2:45.00
1992 Fly Till Dawn 6 Patrick Valenzuela Darrell Vienna Josephine T. Gleis 2:46.53
1991 Mashkour 8 Chris McCarron Robert J. Frankel Dale & Morley Engleson 2:47.60
1990 Delegant 6 Kent Desormeaux Michael Whittingham Evergreen Farm 2:46.60
1989 Nasr El Arab 4 Patrick Valenzuela Charles Whittingham Sheikh Mohammed 2:51.40
1988 Great Communicator 5 Ray Sibille Thad Ackel Class Act Stable 2:51.60
1987 Rosedale 4 Laffit Pincay, Jr. Charles Whittingham Nelson Bunker Hunt 2:49.00
1986 Dahar 5 Alex Solis Charles Whittingham Summa Stable 2:48.20
1985 Prince True 4 Chris McCarron Charles Whittingham Mrs. Howard B. Keck 2:47.80
1984 Load The Cannons 4 Laffit Pincay, Jr. Charles Whittingham Summa Stable 2:48.00
1983 Erins Isle 5 Laffit Pincay, Jr. Charles Whittingham Brian Sweeney 2:48.60
1982 Lemhi Gold 4 Walter Guerra Laz Barrera Aaron U. Jones 2:45.60
1981 Obraztsovy 6 Patrick Valenzuela Charles Whittingham Pascoe III & Sweeney 2:50.40
1980 John Henry 5 Darrel McHargue Ron McAnally Dotsam Stable 2:46.80
1979 Tiller 5 Angel Cordero, Jr. David A. Whiteley William Haggin Perry 2:48.00
1978 Exceller 5 Bill Shoemaker Charles Whittingham Belair Stud Ltd. & Hunt 2:51.00
1977 Properantes 4 Darrel McHargue Tommy Doyle Getty/Richards/Riordan 2:47.60
1976 One on the Aisle 4 Sandy Hawley J. Elliott Burch Rokeby Stable 2:50.00
1975 La Zanzara 5 Donald Pierce Charles Whittingham Aaron U. Jones 2:52.20
1974 Astray 5 Jacinto Vasquez David A. Whiteley William Haggin Perry 2:45.40
1973 Queen’s Hustler 4 Rudy Rosales Gene Cleveland Laguna Seca & Ward 2:46.40
1972 Practicante 6 Laffit Pincay, Jr. Charles Whittingham Claiborne Farm 2:45.60
1971 Cougar II 5 Bill Shoemaker Charles Whittingham Mary F. Jones 2:46.20
1970 Fiddle Isle 5 Bill Shoemaker Charles Whittingham Howard B. Keck 2:46.40
1970 Quicken Tree 7 Fernando Alvarez William T. Canney L. R. Rowan/W. Whitney 2:46.40
1969 Petrone 5 Johnny Sellers Robert L. Wheeler Flag Is Up Farms/Constantine 2:47.40
1968 Niarkos 8 Alvaro Pineda Johnny Adams Hasty House Farm 2:47.80
1967 Niarkos 7 Alvaro Pineda Johnny Adams Hasty House Farm 2:50.20
1966 George Royal 5 Johnny Longden Donald Richardson R. W. Hall / E. Hammond 2:48.80
1965 George Royal 4 Johnny Longden George Dunn R. W. Hall / E. Hammond 2:46.80
1964 Cedar Key 4 Manuel Ycaza Don McCoy Jerry Basta 2:48.00
1964 Mr. Consistency 6 Kenneth Church James I. Nazworthy Mrs. Ann Peppers 2:49.00
1963 Pardao 5 Ismael Valenzuela William J. Hirsch Ray Bell (Lessee) 2:48.20
1962 Olden Times 4 Bill Shoemaker Mesh Tenney Rex C. Ellsworth 2:53.00
1961 Don't Alibi 5 Bill Shoemaker Matt Dragna Dragna & Son & Santoro 2:48.00
1960 Amerigo 5 William Hartack Harris Brown Mrs. Tilyou Christopher 2:47.80
1959 Royal Living 4 Ralph Neves Charles Whittingham Llangollen Farm 2:45.40
1958 Promised Land 4 Ismael Valenzuela Hirsch Jacobs Ethel D. Jacobs 2:52.00
1957 Corn Husker 4 Eddie Arcaro Charles Whittingham Llangollen Farm 2:55.00
1956 Bobby Brocato 5 George Taniguchi William Molter M/M Travis M. Kerr 2:49.40
1955 St. Vincent 4 Johnny Longden Vance Longden Gardiner/Alberta Ranches 2:46.80
1954 By Zeus 4 Raymond York William J. Hirsch Mrs. Edward Lasker 2:26.00
1953 Intent 5 Eddie Arcaro William J. Hirsch Brookfield Farm 2:55.60
1952 Intent 4 Eric Guerin William J. Hirsch Brookfield Farm 2:55.00
1951 Be Fleet 4 Johnny Longden George E. Mayberry Andrew J. Crevolin 2:56.00
1950 Noor 5 Johnny Longden Burley Parke Charles S. Howard 2:52.80
1949 Miss Grillo 7 Johnny Adams Horatio Luro Mill River Stable 2:29.00
1948 no race
1947 no race
1946 Triplicate 5 Job Dean Jessop Clyde Phillips Fred Astaire 2:28.40
1945 Bric-A-Bac 4 Conn McCreary J. H. Logan Freeman & Church 2:29.20
1944 no race
1943 no race
1942 no race
1941 Mioland 4 Leon Haas Tom Smith Charles S. Howard 2:30.80
1940 Mioland 3 Johnny Adams Tom Smith Charles S. Howard 1:45.20
1939 Cravat 4 Jack Westrope Walter Burrows Townsend. B. Martin 2:30.40
1938 Indian Broom 5 Harry Richards Darrell Cannon Austin C. Taylor 1:51.40
1937 Seabiscuit 4 Red Pollard Tom Smith Charles S. Howard 1:48.80
1936 Whopper 4 Willie Saunders Duval A. Headley Hal Price Headley 1:50.00
1935 Head Play 5 Charles Kurtsinger J. Thomas Taylor Mrs. Silas B. Mason 1:51.40
In 1970 there was a dead heat for first.

Other North American Marathon races

On dirt:

On turf:


  1. ^


  • The 2008 San Juan Capistrano Invitational Handicap at the NTRA
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