Another successful Derby Day in the books. If you’ve been following my blog for a while now you know that the past two years I was cheering on the horses at Arlington Park in Chicago. Last weekend I watched the horse races at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California (close to LA). There is something about Derby day that I just love, from dressing up to sipping on a mint julep as the horses race past the stands, I can’t get enough of the excitement.
This wasn’t my first time at Santa Anita Park, years ago when I was about eleven or twelve I went there with family friends. From what I remember I was in awe of the galloping horses. Growing up I used to horseback ride, learning English style when we lived on the East Coast and switching to Western once we moved to California. Lately I’ve been looking to get back into horseback riding and think I’ve found a place by my house I may try out!
One major difference between Arlington and Santa Anita is the size, I didn’t realize just how big the grounds were at the Santa Anita Park. But it’s no surprise because the history of the race tracks is just as impressive. Located at the base of the San Gabriel Mountains, Santa Anita Park opened in 1934. Even though it opened its gates during the midst of the Great Depression it was still successful due to the legalization of pari-mutuel gambling in 1933. (Pari-mutuel gambling means that the people betting are all betting against each other instead of the track/owner/casino). Less than half a decade later the famous horse Seabiscuit won the 1940 Santa Anita race (the movie Seabiscuit was filmed at the tracks in 2002). History was made again at the tracks in 1969 when the first female jockey, Tuesdee Testa won a horse race. In the 1984 summer Olympics held in Los Angeles, Santa Anita Park hosted the equestrian events. I am sure the grounds will be used again for the upcoming 2028 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
When I go to the race tracks I like to bring a little betting money with, usually $20. It does make the races a bit more thrilling knowing you could win a little money too. This time I bet on several of the races and won a few, but nothing big. For the final race at Churchill Downs in Kentucky (which they put on the big screen) I bet $2 and ended up winning $6.60! Not as much as last year where I came in at $13 on the final race at Churchill Downs. I know, I’m quite the high roller=o)
Although I left my big hat at home I still had a blast. Watching the horse races on Derby Day has become a little tradition of mine and I hope to continue going every year =o)
x the Adventurer
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