The 1941 Santa Anita Handicap

After Thoroughbred racing returned to Southern California in the 1930s, it easily became the biggest spectator sport in the area. The professional sports teams that call the Southland home in the present were still years away from debuting, so seeing the ponies in action was a regular hobby of many residents.

In addition to the excitement of watching the races, the possibilities of what could be seen were just as intriguing. Given that the sport was in the early years of its California Renaissance, nobody knew what they would see. Records could be created and broken in short order, and plenty of chances for breakout stars existed.

Of course, records were set back in those early days, and horses and jockeys became stars. The biggest star of all back then was Seabiscuit, who closed out his career by setting a new standard for total earnings thanks to his long-awaited victory in the 1940 Big 'Cap. After scores of years since that historic race, it still remains as arguably the most popular moment in the Big 'Cap's timeline.

One year after the Biscuit's finale, those in the 1941 Hundred Grander had a hard act to follow. Actually, it was an impossible act to follow, having to succeed the most beloved horse in the land as champion of California's marquee race.

When it was said and done, however, the fans saw a new Big 'Cap record by the winner. And it has yet to be broken in the 2020s.

The prevailing belief going into the seventh Big 'Cap was that the talented distance runner (and that year's Champion Older Male) Mioland would get the win.