Saturday’s card at Santa Anita features the first chance for the Derby-bound to get points in 2018, with the Grade 3 Sham Stakes. Sunday, however, is all about the fillies: the day’s feature, the Grade 2 Santa Ynez Stakes, is the first Kentucky Oaks points race of the year.
As with so many stakes races at Santa Anita, this race takes its name from a place on the map. Santa Ynez, California, a valley town about 135 miles northwest of Santa Anita racetrack. Inaugurated in 1952 as a six-furlong sprint, it has varied in distance between six and a half furlongs and seven since 1954. Through most of its recent history it has covered seven furlongs; for 2012-2016 it shortened up to six and a half, but last year it returned to its current trip. In addition to shares of a $200,000 purse, the Santa Ynez also offers Road to the Kentucky Oaks points, apportioned 10-4-2-1 to the top four finishers.