Following the re-legalization of horse racing in California in 1934, Santa Anita Park was constructed and opened on Christmas Day of the same year with 30,777 attending. The following year, the inagural running of the Santa Anita Handicap occurs on February 23, famous as the first horse race with a $100,000 purse.
When World War II struck, Executive Order 9066 turned the once cheerful race track into a place of sorrow, becoming a Japanese-American Assembly Center from April to October of 1942, before becoming Camp Santa Anita, a United States Army base. Racing resumed on May 5, 1945.
Architecture and Layout
Santa Anita Park's original Turf Club, Club House, and enormous grandstand were all designed by Los Angeles architect, Gordon B. Kaufmann who blended historic Spanish design with the Art Deco style of the 1930s.
Santa Anita Park is also a "park" in the more common sense of the word, the inner area of the racetrack (The "Infield"), is in fact, a very beautiful park with slides, jungle gyms, swings and more. The grounds of the enormous complex (It takes up a large part of the city of Arcadia) are surrounded with more than 1,500 tree, tons of flowers, fountains, and well-maintained lawns, all cared for year-round. Antique statuary and ornamental vases can be seen dotting the area with many from 18th century England.
Besides being a park and racetrack, the vast size of Santa Anita Park makes it ideal for concerts (KROQ has many here), and for any number of events that involve large masses of people. Including the local high school's graduation which was moved around 1999.
Santa Anita Park
285 West Huntington Dr.
Arcadia, CA 91007