Pomona College Magazine
Volume 41. No. 1.
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 Santa Anita
#33
Cheer home a winner at Santa Anita Park.

In front of the paddock of historic Santa Anita Racetrack, in the center of a walking ring, stands a life-size bronze statue of a smallish horse with crooked knees, a horse still considered by many, some 60 years after his death, to be the greatest ever. His name was Seabiscuit, and if you’ve seen the movie by the same name—starring Toby Maguire as the oversized, blind-in-one-eye jockey who rode the great horse to glory—then you’re likely to recognize Santa Anita as the famous thoroughbred’s home track. In fact, it was in the Santa Anita Handicap in 1940 that an aging Seabiscuit, returning from what had been believed to be a career-ending injury, cemented his fame by winning the one race that had eluded him on two previous tries (both times in a photo finish), plus breaking a track record in the last race of his career.

The track is captivating not only for its history, but also for its art deco glamour—the retro flair of the green-and-gold grandstands and the manicured grounds that include topiaries of horses and jockeys. On a clear day, the San Gabriel Mountains provide a stunning backdrop to the races themselves.

During a spring meet from December through April and a fall meet in October and November, the park offers live thoroughbred racing on dirt and turf. Admission to the grandstand is only five dollars, although we can’t guarantee that’s the most you’ll spend.
 
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