Santa Anita

Joe Morris, a Vice President of the Stronach Group, who oversees Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, gave a brief history and update on our local track. Santa Anita opened on Christmas day in 1934. The track has had a number of firsts, the first pari mutuel tote system, the first $100,000 race, the first photo finish cameras and the first electronic timing of races. The track has been home to the top horses, the top trainers and the top jockeys in the country.
One of the problems affecting horse racing today is the number of thoroughbreds available for the sport. In the 1980’s there were 37,000 horses bred each year. This last year 21,000 were bred. The closing of Hollywood Park also caused problems. It was not difficult to move race dates around but the loss of that facility meant the loss of 1800 stalls. Another problem is that California is the only major state in the country that does not allow tracks to have alternate forms of revenue. Other states allow slot machines and lotteries at their tracks. This puts California at a disadvantage.
Joe gave an update on improvements at the track including a new surface on the dirt track, increasing the width of the grass track and plans to add more stalls. Despite the many challenges facing Santa Anita, Joe painted a bright picture for the future of racing here in Arcadia.