Santa Anita Race Park is a truly iconic racetrack, one of the most famous in North America. The track has echoed American history from its design by Hoover Dam architect Gordon B. Kaufman, through California’s up-and-down history in World War II, and including the 1984 Equestrian Olympic Games. Each year, Santa Anita hosts the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap, two of the most prestigious races in Southern California.
Santa Anita Park is located 14 miles northeast of Los Angeles in Arcadia, California. Santa Anita track is 30 miles from Los Angeles International Airport, accessible from the Harbor Freeway or I-210, among other local Freeways. The Park is located just outside the San Gabriel Reservoir in a historic location, on land dedicated to California racing since 1934.
Santa Anita’s amenities include premier dining at the classic FrontRunner restaurant and modern luxury at the new Sirona’s restaurant, featuring a 70-foot bar, 52-foot TV screens, and four massive projector screens. Regular racing fans at the Santa Anita track can become members of the Thoroughbreds club, eligible for discounted tickets, promotional offers, and free gifts, among other perks. The tracks include a new dirt track, an infield turf track, and a training track.
Santa Anita first opened in 1934 under architect Gordon B. Kaufman, who also orchestrated the Hoover Dam. Since those days the park has hosted such unprecedented events as Seabiscuit’s win in 1940 and the 1984 Olympics Equestrian Competition. In 1942, Santa Anita entered a darker chapter in its history. According to a 2009 article by the Los Angeles Times, Santa Anita Park served as an internment camp (the largest in the U.S.) for approximately 19,000 Japanese-Americans who were held as a threat to national security after the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor. Today, a plaque near the Park’s entrance commemorates this controversial period in the track’s history.
In 2006, according to an article on eHow.com, Santa Anita became eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places due to its long-standing history, involvement with American WWII-era politics and policy, and the sweeping Art Deco facades designed by Kaufman in the early ‘30s.
Santa Anita opens every year on December 26. The spring season continues into April. The fall meeting, runs from early October to early November. According to Cal Racing, live racing occurs Wednesday through Sunday and holiday Mondays during meeting seasons. Simulcast sessions are broadcast from other tracks as scheduled in the off season, and Santa Anita opens its doors to private functions, including weddings, outside the racing season.
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