The 78th Winter Meet season of horse racing at Arcadia Chamber member Santa Anita Park begins with the first post at 12 noon this Friday, Dec. 26.
All fans will receive a free Santa Anita wall calendar with the minimum $5 general admission on opening day, and the track will also present three graded stakes: The Grade I Malibu and Grade I La Brea, as well as the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile (turf).
Santa Anita will again offer fans free Infield Area admission and parking each weekend, including opening day — the area that includes Family Fun Zone, pony rides, face painting, and inflatable jumpers, is most easily accessed by entering at Gate 6, off of Colorado Place on the track’s northern perimeter. With views of the races from the infield, fans are welcome to bring beach chairs, coolers with picnic items and non-alcoholic beverages.
Anyone choosing to cross over from the Infield to the Grandstand may do so by purchasing General Admission. (Santa Anita Thoroughbreds Club members can purchase General Admission for just three dollars). The Thoroughbreds reward program is free to join and fans may do so any race day, on-track.
The opening day racing program will be highlighted by three graded stakes; the Grade I Malibu and La Brea and the Grade II Mathis Brothers Mile (turf). Special early first post time is at 12 noon, with admission gates opening at 10 a.m. For more information on Santa Anita’s upcoming Winter Meet, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
Special package discounts are available at santaanita.com/events. For additional information call (626) 574-RACE.
The traditional Winter Meet runs through April 19, followed immediately by Santa Anita’s newest Spring Meet that begins April 25, 2015, and runs through June 28.
Highlights of recent news about the upcoming meet:
- Top chefs offer world class cuisine in Chandelier Room on Opening Day, Friday, Dec. 26, and Day Two, Saturday, Dec. 27, as well as the first and third weekends of each month. The series will also include live music and food tasting throughout the day. Courtesy of Sprout LA, this dynamic group of talented master chefs and bartenders, from top restaurants such as Republique and Bestia, include Rory Herrmann, Timothy Hollingsworth, Jason Neroni, David Nayfield, and Ivan Marquez. Julian Cox will craft specialty cocktails. Additional Sprout LA chefs will be participating into and throughout 2015. Tickets are $85 per person and can be purchased online at santaanita.com/ChefSeries.
- Many improved and new admission and seating options:
— Gallop Out: Strategically positioned above Santa Anita’s first turn, the newest Club House destination combines the look and feel of a sports bar with world class racing just below. Available to fans 21 and older, The Gallop Out offers full bar, private wagering, food to order and a number of HD flat screen televisions. Admission is free, with purchase of a $10 Club House ticket. Additionally, special packages are available to The Gallop Out at santaanita.com.
— Luxury Suites: brand new suites can accommodate 10 to 40 people and afford attendees private entrances and wagering, luxurious indoor/outdoor seating, internet access and panoramic views of Santa Anita’s famed homestretch. Total price includes Club House admission, valet parking, food and non-alcoholic beverages, racing programs, cocktail service, a winner’s circle presentation and photo, as a well as having a named race in the program. Rates vary, for complete information, please visit santaanita.com.
— Turf Terrace: allows fans to experience the open-air excitement of watching the races in an elevated setting just past the finish line. This sit-down dining experience provides breathtaking views of The Great Race Place with the San Gabriel Mountains serving as a backdrop. Individual table-top television monitors and ready access to wagering make this a highly popular destination. There is a $10 minimum charge per table. Our seasonal menus are available at santaanita.com.
— Bud Light Lounge: located next to Sirona’s Bar on the main floor of the Grandstand and offers fans a picturesque view of the Seabiscuit Walking Ring and Paddock Gardens. Available on weekends, The Bud Light Lounge has more than 20 HD televisions featuring college and pro sports, racing from coast to coast, and also has two full-sized pool tables. Online packages are $20 and include an all-you-can-eat buffet, General Admission, racing program and a 12 oz. Budweiser or Bud Light.
— Daily Box Seats and Farriers Package: Premium box seats are now available for the first time on a daily basis and fans are encouraged to purchase early and experience America’s premier winter racing venue in time-honored fashion by spending the day in your own personal Club House box. The Farriers Package can be purchased online only for $40 on Thursdays and Fridays and for $50 on Saturdays, Sundays, and holiday Mondays. The package includes Club House admission, a racing program, a Craft Brew from Farriers in our Club House Mezzanine, an entrée from one of our brand new Mezzanine eateries and a commemorative pint glass. (In order to qualify for the Farriers Package, a minimum of two packages must be purchased).
- A-list riders such as Mike Smith, Gary Stevens, Corey Nakatani, Joe Talamo, Rafael Bejarano, Tyler Baze, Kent Desormeaux, Victor Espinoza, and Martin Garcia are among the jockeys ready to take the reins this season.
- The five 2015 finalists for the prestigious Santa Anita George Woolf Memorial Jockey Award to be announced on HRTV in February following a vote of jockeys nationwide are: veteran jockeys James Graham, Mike Luzzi, Leslie Mawing, Corey Nakatani and the recently retired Rosie Napravnik. This trophy, a replica of the life-sized statue of legendary jockey George Woolf, which adorns Santa Anita’s Paddock Gardens area that has been presented to a different jockey each year in recognition of those riders whose careers and personal character earn esteem for the individual and the sport of Thoroughbred racing, has been presented annually by Santa Anita since 1950. Woolf, who died following a spill on Santa Anita’s Club House turn on Jan. 3, 1946, was regarded as one of the top big-money jockeys of his era. The jockey affectionately called “The Iceman,” also owned The Derby Restaurant, still one of Arcadia’s most popular eateries.
- The Grade I Malibu and Grade I La Brea Stakes head a comprehensive 2014-15 Winter Meet stakes schedule at Santa Anita Park that begins opening day, Dec. 26. A total of eight Grade I events, including the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap (formerly $750,000) on March 7, and the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 4, will be offered among 37 overall graded stakes through April 19. A hefty purse increase from $300,000 to $500,000 for the Grade II, 1 1/8 miles San Antonio Stakes on Feb. 7, as the final major prep for the Big ’Cap, along with the $200,000 for the Grade II, 1 1/16 miles San Pasqual Stakes, to be run on Jan. 10, will mean a total of $1.7 million in graded purse money for the three races, including the Santa Anita Handicap.
- California Cup Day will once again be combined with Sunshine Millions on Jan. 24. Five stakes for California bred or sired horses will be carded: The Cal Cup Derby, Cal Cup Oaks, Sunshine Millions Filly & Mare Turf Sprint, Cal Cup Sprint and the Cal Cup Classic. These races will offer horsemen $975,000 in total purse money.