315 days

Santa Anita

THE SETTING

Physically, the park spans 320 acres and features a one-mile natural dirt track that surrounds a turf course of 9/10 of a mile. The grandstand is rendered in Art Deco style that largely reflects the original design from the early 1900s. Stabling at Santa Anita is capable of hosting over 1,800 thoroughbreds and in 2000, the facility was named among the “Most Endangered Historic Places” in America.

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Santa Anita

PRESENT DAY

Today, Santa Anita hosts several significant races on the national stakes calendar in Santa Anita Handicap, Santa Anita Derby and Strub Stakes to name a few. In addition to racing, the park hosts season-long events including concerts, food truck festivals, photographer days, hot rod car shows, fundraisers and more. With its close proximity to Hollywood and picturesque setting, Santa Anita Park also is the setting for many films and TV shows. When it's not being used for its beautiful setting, Hollywood makes use of the Santa Anita Park parking lot and through the magic of film, transforms the plain concrete into deserts, oceans, and so much more.

HISTORY

Located in Arcadia, California, Santa Anita Park is known for its picturesque backdrop against the San Gabriel Mountains and its historical prominence among the thoroughbred racing community. Established in 1934 by the Los Angeles Turf Club, Santa Anita is the oldest racetrack in Southern California. The park’s very first Santa Anita Handicap in February, 1935, offered the largest purse of any horse race in the United States at the time, and remains the oldest continually run $100,000 or more stakes in the country.

During Hollywood’s heyday, stars such as Betty Grable, Charlie Chaplan, Cary Grant and many others frequented the track – several of which owned their own horses. Current celebrities and professional athletes who frequent Santa Anita include Dustin Hoffman, Joe Torre, Jim Rome, Rob Dyrdek, Drew Brees, Elizabeth Banks, Bo Derek, Joe Pesci, Bobby Flay and many more.

Historically, Santa Anita is known for hosting several prestigious horse races and initiating multiple standards in thoroughbred racing. The use of starting gates and photo finishes for every race, for example, were both established at Santa Anita and remain common practice today. Several additional milestones, including Seabiscuit’s final career win in 1940, and the Olympic equestrian games in 1984, also transpired at Santa Anita.

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