The Santa Anita Park in Arcadia is home to some of the most prominent horse racing events in the United States. The park, opened in 1934, was designed by architect Gordon B. Kaufman and recently received a $15 million facelift to revive its art deco luster-- just in time to debut the renovations during the famed Breeders' Cup. While horse racing is not usually part of my weekend agenda, I couldn't pass up the invitation to tour the revamped facilities and play the races.
The new and exclusive VIP areas were stunning. This bright, dazzling Chandelier Room pays homage to the track's art deco origins and would surely impress even Jay Gatsby.
Another new addition to the park is a VIP Sports Book room with enormous television screens on two walls. Access to this room during the Breeders' Cup ran $2000 per person. The room was quite impressive but, while the dudes oohed and aahed over this epic Man Cave, I was still imagining roaring soirees in the Chandelier Room.
The Clubhouse Mezzanine is home to the park's food and drink options as well as betting stations and was apparently gutted for a complete renovation. While I don't know what the space looked like before, I loved the hardwood pillars and white marble surfaces everywhere in the updated space.
The new Mezzanine also boasts updated dining options: hand-carved sandwiches at Grade One; craft beer at Farrier's; salads and sushi at The Turf Course; and a build your own noodle bar at Pick 3. All of the names are plays on horse racing terminology or Santa Anita's history.
With beers and roast beef and corned beef sandwiches in hand, Justin and I settled into our box seats for the races.
A noodle bowl from Pick 3
Sushi from The Turf Course
As an animal lover, my favorite part of the day was a tour of the horse paddock...
...and getting up close with this guy, who was about to set off on his first race.
We also received a lesson in how to read the program and place a bet. It's amazing how exciting and charged a race becomes when you've placed a bet...even when it's only a few dollars. Justin bet $2 and won $29 in his very first race. Even with hedging my bets and wagering on Win, Place and Show, I was less successful.
Of all the day's races, my favorite was the one we watched from a beautiful, flower-lined owners' box right on the track.
The winning horse
A glass of champagne and a beautiful cupcake made especially for Santa Anita Park by Goodie Girls were a perfectly decadent end to a fun day. Thank you to Santa Anita Park for inviting me!
Santa Anita Race Track
285 W. Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91007