A scant year after California legalized pari-mutuel betting in 1933, Santa Anita Park became the Golden State's premier racetrack. Legendary for the famous races, heroic horses, and notable celebrities who made history at Santa Anita, it continues an almost 90 year run of excitement and achievement.
Santa Anita's first meet begins just after Christmas each year and continues through the third week of June. It resumes racing through September and October. Among the important races that it hosts annually are the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap, which in times past was nicknamed "the Big Cap" because it offered the largest purse of any horserace in the world. Santa Anita frequently hosts the Breeder's Cup, one of horseracing's most prestigious events.
Though it is easy to be transfixed by the history and notoriety of the track, one should be aware of the necessary details such as the amenities available to guests. The historic Grandstand, with its fabled Clockers Corner—where morning workouts can be watched and timed—is open to guests. So is the Infield, where there are picnic tables and a children's playground. One may also visit the Paddock Room and Paddock Gardens, where guests can watch as horses are prepared for the track.
Children 17 and under are admitted free with an adult. General admission is free for everyone on Thursday and Friday. General admission on race days is $5 and $10 for Club House admission. Box seats and finish line seating are also available for an extra charge. Parking is $4, with valet and limo parking also available.
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