Hernandez, O’Neill & Hronis Racing Top Classic Meet

April 9, 2024

2024 Santa Anita Park Classic Meet Leaders. (Benoit Photos)

Hernandez, O’Neill & Hronis Racing top the Jockey, Trainer & Owner Standings as Santa Anita’s Classic Meet Closes

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Santa Anita Press Box

ARCADIA, Calif.— Santa Anita’s 46-day Classic Meet, which began on Dec. 26, drew to a close Sunday, with Juan Hernandez atop the jockey’s standings, Doug O’Neill winning the trainer’s title and Hronis Racing leading all owners.

For Hernandez, a 32-year-old native of Veracruz, Mexico, this was his fifth riding title at Santa Anita. He finished with 53 wins from 245 mounts (22 percent), which bested runner-up Antonio Fresu’s 46 wins. Hernandez, who has become a go-to rider for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, also won seven stakes at the stand including the GII San Vicente with Muth and both the GIII Las Virgenes and GIII Santa Ysabel with Kinza, each for Baffert.

Hernandez also led all jockeys in earnings with $3,683,348. Hernandez previously was the leading rider at the 2023 Autumn Meet, 2023 Hollywood Meet, 2022-23 Classic Meet and 2021-22 Winter-Spring Meet.

Bob Baffert trainee Kinza showed she is in a class above in her Santa Yaabel victory under Juan Hernandez at Santa Anita March 9 2024. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)
Bob Baffert trainee Kinza showed she was in a class above in her Santa Yaabel victory under Juan Hernandez at Santa Anita. (Ernie Belmonte/Past The Wire)

“I just want to say thank you to everybody for all the support,” Hernandez said. “All the owners, trainers and all the people on the backside. The grooms, the gallop boys, because they do a lot of hard work over there and I only do the easy part. I’m really happy and I’m going to try to keep working hard.”

O’Neill won the trainer’s title with 30 wins from 163 starts (18 percent). He finished one win ahead of Mark Glatt, who earned his first Santa Anita trainer’s title at last year’s Autumn Meet.

A 55-year-old native of Dearborn, Michigan, O’Neill had two stakes wins at the stand with Mucho Del Oro in the GIII San Simeon and Stay and Scam in the Irish O’Brien. He finished with $1,797,470 in earnings.

This was O’Neill’s ninth Santa Anita trainer’s title and first since the 2021 Autumn Meet.

Doug O'Neill via X
Doug O’Neill via X

“It is all the result of just great owners, great horses, great staff and a lot of luck,” said O’Neill, a two-time Kentucky Derby winner with 2,878 career victories. “I’m just grateful to be at the Great Race Place. I’m grateful to work alongside a lot of great men and women that have the same passion that I do. I’m just happy to work alongside horses it is truly an honor.  It doesn’t beat being here at Santa Anita.”

Hronis Racing narrowly won the owner’s title with 11 wins at the Classic Meet, one more than Reddam Racing.  Hronis Racing’s biggest win came with Antifona in the Sweet Life Stakes.

“This kind of award is about the barn and the procedures that go through it.” Kosta Hronis said during a ceremony in the Winner’s Circle Sunday.

Racing will resume at Santa Anita on April 19 with the start of the Hollywood Meet. The 29-day stand runs through June 16. Entries for opening day will be taken on Tuesday, April 16.

For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.

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