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The 'first' Santa Anita Racetrack was built on Elias Jackson ("Lucky") Baldwin's immense estate of "Rancho Santa Anita" and opened on December 7, 1907, but closed just two years later after horse racing was banned in California due to an anti-gambling bill that became law. In 1933, Hollywood director Hal Roach and San Francisco dentist Dr. Charles Strub formed the Los Angeles Turf Club and raised funds to build a new track. Designed in an Art Deco style by Gordon B. Kaufman, the "new" Santa Anita Park was opened on Tuesday, December 25, 1934 with an attendance of 30,077 visitors paying an admission price of .15 cents. This famous racetrack has seen some important events since its grand re-opening: In February 1935, the first Santa Anita Handicap was run; famous racehorse, Seabiscuit won the Santa Anita handicap in 1940; in 1942, racing at Santa Anita was suspended due to the Second World War and from 1942 to 1944, Santa Anita was used as a Japanese American internment center; the racetrack reopened in 1945; a downhill turf course was added in 1953, which added a distinctly European flair; during the 1960s, major renovations included a much-expanded grandstand as well as major seating additions; in 1974, the Westfield Santa Anita Mall was built on the site of the old barns and training track; was host to the 1984 Olympic equestrian events; and in 1997, Santa Anita Park was acquired by Meditrust Corp.; Meditrust then sold the track to Magna Entertainment Corp., which they still own to date. Santa Anita, which has a turf course measuring 9/10 of a mile, also has a one-mile synthetic "cushion" main track. The new Cushion Track opened for training on September 4, 2007 and hosted its first live race on September 26, 2007. The 1,100-foot-long grandstand, which is a historic landmark, can accommodate 26,000 guests and is the original facade from the 1930s. The track infield area can accommodate another 50,000 or more guests. The Park also contains 61 barns, which house more than 2,000 horses, and an equine hospital. Santa Anita Racetrack is the oldest racetrack in Southern California, and is located at 285 W. Huntington Drive. View of Santa Anita Racetrack, seen from inside the grandstand, looking toward the mountains.
Santa Anita Park (Arcadia, Calif.) Horse racing--California--Arcadia Racetracks (Horse racing)--California--Arcadia Works Progress Administration Collection photographs Roach, Hal,1892-1992 Strub, Charles Arcadia (Calif.) Kaufmann, Gordon B