My husband is a fan of horse racing which is a good thing as I am a fan of horses. He and a few of bis buddies spend a lot of weekends "going to lunch" at a local sports bar that features live wagering on video. Once or twice a year, we like to head to Santa Anita to watch the races in person. It's a "horse" thing that he can easily talk me into doing.
This was our third time attending the Breeders' Cup. There is nothing quite like cheering for your horse with more than 50,000 other people.
Since we've been to this track many times, we knew that getting there early makes for a very long day. Ee actually rolled in a little late, catching the third race. There were twelve races being run on Sunday, but nine turned out to be plenty for us.
For most of the day, there were forty minutes between each race which allowed for plenty of time to place our bets, walk out to the paddocks, or grab a snack. We also took a lot of pictures. For the final race, there was an hour wait between race 11 and race 12.
I do not know if there is a track more beautiful than Santa Anita. We've been to Del Mar, which is also quite lovely, but nothing beats Santa Anita.
What I love about this track is how close you can get to the horses, the jockeys, the owners (I've walked right past Bob Baffert more times than I can count), and even the track itself.
While we had decent seats, we only sat in them once. The rest of the day we spent watching the races from different vantage points. My favorite spot to watch is right on the rail. You can't see much except for the front stretch, but when the horses run by, you can feel it in your toes.
We watched races from the rail at the top of the front stretch - away from the crowds, from the finish line - which was really crowded, and even from the grandstand which gives you a view of the whole track at once.
Next year's Breeders' Cup is at Keeneland in Kentucky, and in 2021. it's back at Del Mar. I am pretty we won't be making either of those trips. That's okay. It will be back at Santa Anita before too long.
Besides the Breeders' Cup, Santa Anita hosts the Santa Anita Derby which is just as much fun. But frankly, my favorite time to go is when nothing special is going on. The roar of the crowd is amazing, but the sound of hoofbeats in the silence is even better.