Race Tracks > Santa Anita Park
Santa Anita Park Track Facts
- Address: 285 West Huntington Dr, Arcadia, CA 91007
- Phone: (626) 574-7223
- Website: www.santaanita.com
- Main track (Dirt): 1-mile, oval
- Length of stretch from last turn to finish line: 990 feet
- Turf track: 7 furlongs plus 132 feet (9/10 of a mile) with a hillside turf course for 6 1/2-furlong turf races
Santa Anita Park is one of the most famous race tracks in the world. Located in Arcadia, California just outside of Los Angeles, the track is able to offer year-round racing thanks to favorable weather. Currently owned and operated by the Stronach Group, the park has been open since December 25th, 1934.
Santa Anita Notable Stakes and Handicap Races
|Races Hosted at Santa Anita:|
|Santa Anita Derby||La Brea Stakes||San Pasqual Handicap|
|American Pharoah Stakes||Awesome Again Stakes||Santa Maria Handicap|
|Santa Anita Handicap||Las Virgenes Stakes||San Vicente Stakes|
|Santa Anita Oaks||Zenyatta Stakes||Summertime Oaks|
|Malibu Stakes||American Oaks||Adoration Stakes|
|Chandelier Stakes||La Canada Stakes||Affirmed Handicap|
|Goldikova Stakes||San Felipe Stakes||Robert B. Lewis Stakes|
More About Santa Anita Race Track
Santa Anita Park covers 320 acres, includes stable accommodations for 1,800 thoroughbreds, and features a 1-mile main horse racetrack, a seven-furlong turf course and a six-furlong training track.
Opened in 1934 and designed by Gordon Kaufmann, architect of the Hoover Dam, Santa Anita is an eclectic art-deco masterpiece that blends Streamline Modern with American Colonial, Spanish Revival and even New Orleans styles. It features lush manicured green lawns, meticulously tended colorful gardens and historically significant architecture, all nestled against the backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains.
Santa Anita Racetrack has a fascinating history. Home of the 1984 Olympics equestrian competitions, the track has served as the site of countless prestigious races and it has witnessed dozens of racing legends. Movie buffs will also recognize Santa Anita in the classic Shirley Temple film The Story of Seabiscuit.
The track suffered a brief dark period during World War II when it became an assembly center, providing temporary housing for 20,000 Japanese Americans awaiting relocation to internment camps.
Santa Anita offers an exciting day for racing fans and tourists alike. The track sponsors numerous special events during its season, including wine and beer tastings, and twilight racing. It also offers fabulous dining options, including the prestigious clubhouse, in addition to the Frontrunner Restaurant. Overlooking the finish line, The Frontrunner Restaurant is a glass-enclosed facility with tiered seating and a flawless track view for 525 people.
Early in 2007, Santa Anita Park Racetrack management selected a synthetic Cushion Track racing surface, which has drawn rave reviews at Hollywood Park, to replace the former one-mile dirt track. Cushion Track is a mixture of silica sand, synthetic fibers, elastic fiber, granulated rubber and a wax coating. The new Cushion Track opened for training on September 4, 2007, just in time for the opening of the 39th Oak Tree Racing meet on September 26th.
On July 11, 2014 Santa Anita changed course and replaced their main track with 20,000-plus yards of dirt. The fall meet opened Sept. 26 and hosted the Breeders’ Cup for a third consecutive year.
Fall Racing at Santa Anita
Santa Anita Park’s fall meeting isn’t its longest, or richest. But it includes some of the most significant races that the southern Californian track holds all year.
The meeting begins in late September, with the Eddie D. Stakes (G3) on the downhill turf sprint course the most important race on the first day. It’s not a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, but it’s not without significance for the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint.
The next day, however, is one of the most significant on the North American calendar. There are five grade one races, all of which are Breeders’ Cup Challenge events. There are qualifying races for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (FrontRunner Stakes), Juvenile Fillies (Chandelier Stakes), Filly & Mare Turf (Rodeo Drive Stakes), Distaff (Zenyatta Stakes), and the Classic (Awesome Again Stakes).
All of these bar the Rodeo Drive has been won by subsequent Breeders’ Cup winners – these include horses like Nyquist, Songbird, Mucho Macho Man, Beholder, Zenyatta, Pleasantly Perfect, Tiznow, and Ferdinand. The FrontRunner was also the final juvenile race for American Pharoah prior to his history-making Triple Crown season the year following.
The 1 ¼-mile John Henry Turf (G2) follows the next day, and the following weekend includes another Breeders’ Cup Challenge race: the Santa Anita Sprint Championship Stakes (G1), a qualifier for the Sprint. Its winners include subsequent Breeders’ Cup Sprint victors Amazombie and Kona Gold.
On the same weekend as the Sprint Championship is the L.A. Woman Stakes (G3). It’s not a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race, but it is a potential springboard for horses aiming toward the Filly & Mare Sprint.
The end of the meeting in late October includes two more graded stakes races, both on turf: the 1 1/8-mile Twilight Derby (G3) on turf for 3-year-olds, and the one mile Autumn Miss Stakes (G3) for 3-year-old fillies.
As the most-used venue in southern California, horses often run multiple times at Santa Anita, so form can be very reliable, and there are a number of great opportunities for punters.
Santa Anita History
Santa Anita Park is located at the foothills of the San Gabriel Mountains in Arcadia, California. The mountains serve as a majestic backdrop for the Thoroughbred racing action.
The oldest racetrack in Southern California, Santa Anita opened on December 25, 1934 and spans 320 acres. The grandstand features an Art Deco style that reflects the original design and the stabling area can accommodate approximately 1,800 horses.
Affectionately called “The Great Race Place,” Santa Anita features a one-mile dirt track and an about seven-furlong Camino Real turf course. There is also a hillside turf course for about 6 ½-furlong races.
As well as being the home of numerous prestigious races, Santa Anita hosted three consecutive editions of the Breeders’ Cup from 2012-14 and the track will hold the championship event for a record ninth time in 2016. Ideal fall weather conditions, along with its proximity to Los Angeles, makes Santa Anita an attractive venue for the Breeders’ Cup.
Total attendance for the two-day Breeders’ Cup program in 2014 was 98,319, with $151,158,815 being wagered.
Santa Anita was the first track to offer a $100,000 handicap race, the inaugural running of the Santa Anita Handicap in 1935, and it originated the use of starting gates and photo finishes for every race.
Seabiscuit, whose legendary career became mainstream via a best-selling book and a 2003 movie, was one of the early icons at Santa Anita. He finished second by a nose in both the 1937 and 1938 editions of the Santa Anita Handicap before coming back from serious injury to capture the 1940 “Big ‘Cap” in his final career start.
A record crowd of 85,529 was on hand for the 1985 Santa Anita Handicap. The signature 1 ¼-mile race is offered in early March.
Other star performers at Santa Anita include Ack Ack, Affirmed, Alysheba, A.P. Indy, Azeri, Best Pal, Citation, Ferdinand, Game On Dude, John Henry, Lady’s Secret, Lava Man, Point Given, Real Quiet, Silver Charm, Spectacular Bid, Sunday Silence, Tiznow, Winning Colors and Zenyatta
The Santa Anita Derby is offered in early April and serves as a major prep race for the Kentucky Derby, offering points toward a berth in the starting gate as well as a $1 million purse. The important 1 1/8-mile event for three-year-olds has had 15 participants capture the Kentucky Derby since 1950, including California Chrome (2014) and I’ll Have Another (2012) in recent years.
The Pick 6, where bettors are asked to select six consecutive winners, is a popular fixture in Southern California and Santa Anita has featured some of the largest part-mutuel payouts in American history due to the wager.
A record payout of $3,120,256.80 (before taxes) went to one lucky ticket-holder on February 18, 2008, and the Pick 6 at Santa Anita returned $2,687,611.60 on October 25, 2003.
Frank Stronach’s Magna Entertainment Corp. purchased Santa Anita for $126 million in 1998.
Santa Anita holds two meets: the winter/spring session usually begins in late December and runs through late June; and a five-week fall meet that gets underway in late September.