There are great racetracks across the U.S., each with its own distinct charm. The thunder of 150,000 cheering fans pouring through you as they play “My Old Kentucky Home” on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs might be the epicenter for the true racing experience, but the undiscovered territory for many race fans is Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
As the Breeders' Cup returns to the oldest race track in California, Eclipse Sportswire presents a tour of the venerable circuit many call “The Great Race Place.”
You don't need anything special to enjoy Santa Anita from sunrise until the last horses cross the finish line, you just have to show up. Before the wild rush of million-dollar races for the Breeders’ Cup, try taking in morning workouts at Clocker's Corner. The breakfast burrito is excellent, but get there before sunrise. Part of the allure of Santa Anita is the striking wash of colors as the sun rises from behind the clubhouse turn and sets the San Gabriel Mountains ablaze. Not a bad backdrop to watch horses like Wise Dan, Royal Delta and Game On Dude stretch their legs as they prepare for Friday and Saturday's races.
When you do decide to attend the races, give yourself plenty of time to explore. Santa Anita is more than just a grandstand that horses run past. On the front side, there is the new Zenyatta statue, the Seabiscuit statue and you might run into a stand-in or two from the movie Seabiscuit. There are some great angles to watch the races, but if you don't want a crowd, check out the infield, which has a gigantic lawn to set up a Breeders' Cup picnic. There is even a playground for the kids.
We hope you enjoy Eclipse Sportswire's different look at Santa Anita Park. Check outthe stellar work of ESW regulars Charles Pravata, Alex Evers, Bob Mayberger, and many more. We hope it inspires you to come out and join us next month.