Big ’Cap by the Numbers

Events / Travel

Game on Dude (above) winning the Santa Anita Handicap. (All photo by Eclipse Sportswire)

A historic race and one of Santa Anita’s biggest events each spring, the $1-million Santa Anita Handicap takes center stage this Saturday at the track just outside L.A. With past winners such as Seabiscuit, Affirmed, Spectacular Bid, Alysheba and Tiznow, it’s no wonder the race is one of the most prestigious in the country. Get the scoop on the race’s rich history with a look at the numbers below. 

1 ¼ miles – The distance the field of older horses will race on Saturday.

1:58.17 – The fastest the race has ever been finished in, when Game On Dude won in 2014.

3 – Record number of Big ‘Cap wins for owner Charles Howard, owner of Kayak II (1939), Seabiscuit (1940) and Noor (1950).

4 – The number of horses who have won the race more than once: Game On Dude, Lava Man, Milwaukee Brew and John Henry.


7 – The number of horses to win the race who have been named Horse of the Year, most recently Tiznow in 2001.

7 ¾ lengths – The largest margin of victory in the race, when Game On Dude won in 2013.

8 – Record number of wins by a trainer, held by Charlie Whittingham.

8 – Age (in years) of the oldest horse to win the race, Olhaverry in 1947. Eight horses won the race at the age of 7.

11 – Bill Shoemaker’s record for wins by a jockey in the race.

11.8 – The average field size for the race.

12 – Number of times the Santa Anita Handicap has been run on anything other than a fast track, most recently a track rated as good in 2000.

23 – The largest field size for the race, when War Knight won in 1946.

78 – The number of Big ’Caps that have been run; this year will be the 79th edition.

110 – The number of horses that have competed in more than one edition of the race.


$118.40 – The biggest win payout in the history of the race, occurring when Bay View won in 1941.

1935 – The first year the race was run.

85,527 – Record on-track attendance for the race day, occurring in 1985.

$100,000 – The purse when the race was first run in 1935. The amount was so large and unheard of that the race was known as the “hundred-grander.”

$1,000,000 – The purse for the 2016 race.

$3,856,082 – Total amount bet on the Santa Anita Handicap in 2008, a record.

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