20150131_123310_000And they’re off!

Since its opening in 1934, with the help of movie mogul Hal Roach, Santa Anita Park has been the host to a bounty of film projects and has enjoyed the company of every talent under the sun, from Mae West to Johnny Depp. When you consider the picturesque mountain back drop, and the  period looks of facilities, complimented by auxiliary space and grand parking lots, its easy to see why Santa Anita Park was favored to win by so many productions.

IATSE and MPTF were our hosts this year for the 4th annual “A Day at the Races” Event benefiting the Motion Picture Television Fund. An enthusiastic crowd of 500+ arrived on Saturday January 1 to enjoy the classic ambiance with family and friends while winning the odds, all for a good cause. Hopes were high and hats were wide, as fans celebrated the thrill of victory, the agony of defeat. You can be sure the cheers and jeers were a plenty, and laughter was non-stop. Over 45 generous sponsors presented a silent auction, and prizes for raffle included donations totaling a retail value over $12,000 says Ellen Hawkins, one of the organizers of this favorite event. “This year we surpassed expectations and raised $133,000 for MPTF directly benefitting our members in need, for things like medications, and social services, she reported.”

20150131_142119Represented in the crowd were film workers from the Art Directors Guild, 700 Editors Guild, Local 600 Cinematographers, The Animation Guild, 399 and many more. Prizes included Delta Airline Tickets, Ipad, Le Meridian Hotel stay, Geffin Theater tickets, a night at Disney Concert hall, or a carriage ride around the track between races, to name a few.  For a $5.00 raffle ticket, I walked away with 4 tickets to  an opening night performance of ‘Cinderella’ at The Ahmanson Theater.

After a buffet lunch you could pick up the kiddies at the craft table, don your costumes and squeeze into the party photo booth, or pose with the Santa Anita Mascots, and take a tour of the European Paddocks.  Jay Cohen joined the Santa Anita Race Track in 1987 and remains present as iconic Trumpeter to musically  announce the start of your adrenaline rush for the day!

Janet Harold, Key assistant location Manager walked us through the process for the maximum experience.  “It’s best to carry the racetrack program and Daily Racing form, and for a little extra help, a ‘handicapping tip sheet’  for about $2.00.”

We got a close up look at the horses paraded by trainers, with at least 3 passes each, to get a very real sense of possibility.  They were saddled in the walking ring, as jockeys mounted, and the crowd joined in the walk, separated by fencing while the competitors strutted through the tunnel. As they disappeared, we picked up our own pace, (racing, if you will)  to the betting window.

The ticket included the name of the track, which race, the dollar unit, and what type of wager. You can bet on a single horse to win, place, or show, or a combination of horses. Every racetrack has a television simulcast commentator who handicaps between the races. We listened to see if we could pick up any good tips to bet on.  Janet said, “Watching each horse get saddled in the paddocks is the most exciting part for me, where I can see the horses and their ‘unbridled enthusiasm.  That usually tells me who will win, place or show.”

20150131_121539The event ran from 11:00am to 4:00pm and rediscovering this Los Angeles historic gem was a delight for all ages.

If you plan a Group Day at the park, you may get a race named after your group. If picked, you have the privilege of watching the race from the winners circle area, and posing for the Winners Circle photograph with the winning horse and jockey ! The print is yours for commemoration.

My friends and I would definitely return next year, and even though our wallets were a little lighter, our sprits soared with sportsmanship! I left feeling like a winner!

  • Productions shot at Santa Anita include: ‘Luck, Public Enemies, Sea Biscuit, Casino, Nixon, 90210, and Greys Anatomy
  • 15 eating establishments, formal gardens, a European style paddock, fountains and historic art from around the world, a memorial center, childrens play center.

For a full scout tour contact Pete Siberell, Special Projects, (626) 574-6373 psiberell@santaanita.com


20150131_142307 (1)Glossary of Terms :

Across The Board – A bet on a horse to win, place or show. Three wagers combined in one. If the horse wins, the player wins all three wagers, if second, two, and if third, one.

Barrier Draw – The ballot held by the race club to decide which starting stall each runner will occupy.

Chalk Player – Bettor who wagers on favorites.

Daily Triple – A wager where the bettor must select the winner of three consecutive races.

Exacta (or Perfecta) – A wager in which the first two finishers in a race, in exact order of finish, must be picked.

In the Money: Finishing First, second, or third

Overlay –A horse going off at a higher price than he appears to warrant, based on his past performance.

Parlay- Using the winning from one bet to place the next bet.

Superfector- A wager where you have to pick the first four winners in exact order.

Tout- A person who professes to have or sells advance  information on a race.

Play Responsibly

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