Santa Anita Race Track: Length, Records, Breeders' Cup Info and More

Carlos TorresContributor IOctober 29, 2012

ARCADIA, CA - OCTOBER 29:  Horses train in preparation for the 2012 Breeder's Cup at Santa Anita Park on October 29, 2012 in Arcadia, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

The Santa Anita Race Park is Southern California's most important horse racing venue. It's also the oldest having opened its gates to the public back on Christmas Day in 1934.

It's history makes it a very influential one as well.

Many great jockeys were standouts at Santa Anita during their careers such as George Woolf, Johnny Longden, Bill Shoemaker and Laffit Pincay, Jr.

Two of the west coast's most important races are held here in the spring, the Santa Anita Derby and the Santa Anita Handicap.

The Santa Anita Derby has been the springboard to many west coast Kentucky Derby prospects over the years. Affirmed, Sunday Silence, AP Indy, Point Given and I'll Have Another are some of the great horses to have won the race.

The Santa Anita Handicap has been a premier race for the older horses. If you know Seabiscuit's history or saw the movie, you would remember that his last start was a win in the 1940 Santa Anita Handicap.

According to, Santa Anita is credited with initiating "many innovations that are now standard in thoroughbred horse racing, such as the use of starting gates and photo finishes for every race."

Live racing is held Wednesday through Sunday, the track is dark on Mondays and Tuesdays.

The track setting is one of the most beautiful in the world. Located in Arcadia, 14 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles, the park is nestled at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains.

Wherever you sit to watch a race there, is unavoidable to take a look at the breathtaking San Gabriel mountains since the track is set in the backdrop of the mountains. 

It features a one-mile main track, a seven-furlong turf course, a six-furlong training track and a hillside turf course.

The complexion of the turf course known as the Hillside Turf Course, is very different to most tracks in America. The stretch starts on the hillside of the mountains and the turn borders the main track's final turn and as they turn for the home stretch it crosses the main dirt track before entering the final furlong dash on the main turf course.

This Hillside Turf course is used for races up to about 6.5 furlongs. You can see an aerial view of the park and the Hillside Turf course here.

In September 2007, Santa Anita changed the dirt surface to the synthetic Pro-Ride cushion tack. After three years and frequent problems with drainage, the "Great Race Place" switched back to sand and loam in December 2010.

Santa Anita Race Track's regular season normally begins the day after Christmas and runs until late April. There is also a short season in October which used to be run by the Oak Tree Racing Association until 2010.

They rented the facilities for the autumn meet and hosted America's premier horse racing event, the Breeders' Cup, at Santa Anita Park in 1986, 1993, 2003, 2008 and 2009.

Starting this Friday, it will serve as the host again for the Breeders' Cup, now in its 29th edition. This year will mark the third time in five years that Santa Anita has hosted it, and it will be here in 2013 as well.

It will be the first under the new ownership, Magna International, part of The Stronach Group.

The Breeders' Cup has great memories and history at Santa Anita. But many will remember the last two times held here—2008 and 2009. Especially the New York-based horses.

No New York-based horse won over the Pro-Ride artificial surface. They are surely glad dirt is back at Santa Anita.

This year, even though there are some great matchups that should capture the headlines, but instead controversy to the big event is the limitation on Lasix.

For the first time, horses in the five races restricted to two-year-olds—Juvenile, Juvenile Fillies, Juvenile Turf, Juvenile Fillies Turf, Juvenile Sprint—will not be permitted to run on the popular anti-bleeding medication.

This has led to some pro-Lasix owners and trainers bypassing the event with their horses.

But there is still plenty to see including the Mile, the Ladies Classic and the Turf which are loaded with talent and should provide a show worth the price of admission.

Wise Dan will try to win the Mile and will have to overcome a strong field highlighted by Euro invader Excelebration who has played second string only to the world's best horse—Frankel—at the distance in Europe.

The Ladies Classic features the reigning champion of the race, Royal Delta, taking on a field headlined among others by the unbeaten winners of the last two Juvenile Fillies races, Awesome Feather and My Miss Aurelia.

Point of Entry, America's best turf horse in years, is in prime form and will try to end Europe's reign on the Turf Classic. His toughest challenge will come from the reining champion of the race St Nicholas Abbey and another of Europe's standouts Shareta.

The Classic will also have a great race as Game on Dude, who finished second last year, will likely be the favorite on his home course, but Flat Out, Fort Larned, Mucho Macho Man and Ron The Greek will have a saying on it.

Be sure you don't miss the complete event as history will be written one more time.



Friday Nov. 2

Race No. Post Time Race Purse
4 1:06 p.m. Juvenile Sprint (ungraded) $500,000
5 1:46 p.m. Marathon (G2) $500,000
6 2:28 p.m. Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1) $1 million
7 3:08 p.m. Juvenile Fillies (G1) $2 million
8 3:48 p.m. Filly & Mare Turf (G1) $2 million
9 4:30 p.m. Ladies Classic (G1) $2 million

Saturday Nov. 3

Race No. Post Time Race Purse
4 11:50 a.m. Juvenile Turf $1 million
5 12:35 p.m. Filly & Mare Sprint $1 million
6 1:14 p.m. Dirt Mile $1 million
7 1:57 p.m. Turf Sprint $1 million
8 2:36 p.m. Juvenile $2 million
9 3:18 p.m. Turf $3 million
10 3:58 p.m. Sprint $1.5 million
11 4:40 p.m. Mile $2 million
12 5:30 p.m. Classic $5 million



Friday, Nov. 2, 4:00-8:00 p.m. NBC Sports Network

Saturday, Nov. 3, 3:30-8:00 p.m. NBC Sports Network

Saturday, Nov. 3, 8:00-9:00 p.m. NBC

All Times Live, ET