Dec. 18, 1983: Hollywood Park held the first $1 million race for two-year-old Thoroughbreds, the Hollywood Futurity, which was won by Fali Time, ridden by Sandy Hawley.
Dec. 20, 1987: D. Wayne Lukas-trained Tejano became the first juvenile millionaire when he won the Hollywood Futurity with Laffit Pincay Jr. aboard.
Dec. 22, 1991: Jockey Kent Desormeaux, at age 21, won his 2,000th race aboard Saron Lake, trained by Gary Jones, at Hollywood Park. He was the youngest jockey to reach that mark and did so faster than any other rider.
Dec. 23, 1944 James F. Byrnes, Director of War Mobilization and Reconversion, urged that all racing in the United States cease by Jan. 3 as a means of furthering the war effort.
Dec. 25, 1934: Santa Anita Park opened in Arcadia, Calif. A five-year-old mare, Las Palmas, won the inaugural race, the California-Bred Handicap, before a crowd of 30,777.
Dec. 26: 2002: Julie Krone became the first woman to ride the winner of a Grade I stakes race in the state of California when she piloted the reformed claimer Debonair Joe to victory in the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita.
Dec. 27, 1982: English trainer Michael Dickinson saddled 12 winners, a record.
Dec. 27, 1987: D. Wayne Lukas set a single-season record for stakes wins by a trainer, 92, when he saddled High Brite to win the Palos Verdes Handicap at Santa Anita Park.
Dec. 31, 1966: Ogden Phipps’ Buckpasser, trained by Eddie Neloy, won the 13th consecutive race of his three-year-old season after taking the Malibu Stakes at Santa Anita Park. He was voted Horse of the Year and also took top three-year-old and handicap horse honors for 1966.
Dec. 31, 1982: After a year-long battle for leading rider honors, Pat Day edged Angel Cordero Jr. by two races, which he won after chartering a plane to fly to Vinton, La., where he rode Dana’s Woof Woof and Miltons Magic to victory during the evening program at Delta Downs. Day won the title–his first–with 399 wins to Cordero’s 397.
Dec. 31, 1989: Jockey Kent Desormeaux set the world record for most number of wins in a single season, 598, when he rode two-year-old East Royalty, trained by Phil Thomas Jr., to victory in the tenth race, the Inner Harbor Stakes, at Laurel. He surpassed the old record, set by Chris McCarron, by 52.