From Endurance to Dressage
I really don't know what other "big" tracks have to offer, but Santa Anita definitely caters to the crowd. There was no end of stuff to do there!
We arrived early enough to secure our spots on the Seabiscuit Tour, which is free. While we waited for the tram to leave, we watched the horses come out onto the track for their morning work out. Here's a quick video of them coming onto the track.
The tour began with a ride through the barn area where we saw Bob Baffert's stables as well as many others. Santa Anita has about 1,700 horses and around 1,600 employees. Approximately 600 of them have housing provided at the park.
One of my favorite things from the barn area was watching the human "hot walkers." They had mini tracks throughout the barn area for just this purpose.
The tour then continued on foot where we were taken to the Receiving Barn. As a horse's race approaches, he is taken into the barn where his shoes are checked and his tattoo is compared to his papers.
The horses are then taken to the Saddling Barn where they are tacked up.
The Jockeys' Room entrance is in the middle of the Saddling Barn. For our tour, we were whisked through the Jockeys' Room and emerged into the barn via the same route the jockey's take.
The horses then leave the Saddling Barn and are led across a walk-way to the walking ring where jockeys get a leg up.
Once horses leave the walking ring, they pass through a tunnel beneath the Grandstand and emerge out onto the track.
You've seen this part on TV. The horses are led by the pony horse as they walk, trot, and begin to canter. The horses are then loaded into the starting gate where they wait for the bell.
Here's a video clip from Race 1.
One of the best wins of the day was Race 5. I placed most of my bets on known jockeys or trainers, but that fifth race had it all going on! I bet $5 on the number 5 horse running in the fifth race. His trainer was Bob Baffert and his jockey was none other than Gary Stevens! How could I lose?
Of the nine races on Saturday, we managed to pick 6 winners! We "splurged" on Box Seats ($35 total) and had a great time perusing the program to compare our picks to the handicappers'.
During the middle of the day, the Budweiser Clydsdales put on a small show for the spectators. They were given a very warm welcome by the fans.
Next time we go to Santa Anita, there will be more to see. Visitors to the park can also use the infield for picnics or watching the race. There are playground facilities, a large fountain, and more. We never made it to the infield, but we will next time!
About the Writer and Rider
I am a lifelong rider.
I began endurance riding in 1996 where I ultimately completed five, one-day 100 mile races, the 200-mile Death Valley Encounter, and numerous other 50, 65, and 75 mile races. I began showing dressage in 2010.
Welcome to my dressage journey.
About Speedy G
Speedy went from endurance horse to dressage horse. After helping me earn a USDF Bronze medal in the summer of 2020, he is now semi-retired. Speedy is a 2004, 15'1 hand, purebred Arabian gelding. His Arabian Horse Registry name is G Ima Starr FA.
Izzy was started as a four-year old and then spent the next 18 months in pasture growing up. I bought him as a six-year old, and together, we are showing at Second Level. He is a 2008, 16'3 hand warmblood gelding. His Rheinland Pfalz-saar International (RPSI) name is Imperioso.
National Rider Awards
State Rider Awards
State Horse Awards
CDS Sapphire Rider Award
Third Level: 63.514%
Third Level: 62.105%
2021 Show Season
(r) Ride-a-Test Clinic
(Q) Must Qualify
2021 Pending …
3/6-7 El Sueño (***)
4/17-18 El Sueño (***)
5/16-17 El Sueño (***)
5/23 TMC (*)
6/12-13 SB (***) OR
6/19-20 El Sueño (***)
6/27 TMC (*)
7/3-4 Burbank (***) OR
7/17-18 El Sueño (***)
7/25 TMC (*)
8/14-15 RAAC (Q) (***)
8/29 TMC (*)
2021 Completed …
10/24-25 SCEC (***)
11/7-11/8 SB (***)
2021 Qualifying Scores
Regional Adult Amateur Competition (RAAC)
2nd Level Qualifying
3 Scores/2 Judges/60%:
Score 1: 60.610% Bhathal
2nd Level Qualifying
5 Scores/4 Judges/61%:
Stuff I Read