Why is Santa Anita a Solid Breeders’ Cup Venue?
Why is Santa Anita a Solid Breeders’ Cup Venue? by Reinier Macatangay: On November 4 and 5, Santa Anita Park will host another Breeders’ Cup World Championships, and there are a number of logical reasons for this event to keep coming back to Arcadia, Calif.
The historic venue has faced minor criticism for holding the Breeders’ Cup more often than other racetracks, but think about the factors which make Santa Anita a good place to hold these races.
Unfortunately for Classic contender Exaggerator, it never rains during a Santa Anita-hosted Breeders’ Cup. In some years the heat becomes a little high, but a fast main track and firm turf course for two days is almost guaranteed. This means bettors will spend more money without the fear of an unpredictable wet track.
At first glance, warmer weather would seem to favor the North American horses. But, ironically, European horses have thrived at Santa Anita in the turf races.
Read down the list of Breeders’ Cup Turf (GI) winners.
When Santa Anita hosted the Breeders’ Cup in 2008 and 2009, foreign invader and Irish-bred Conduit won. In 2013, another Irish-bred from overseas named Magician won. While American horses have been successful in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita too, there is no apparent advantage to one group of horses.
Without a doubt, Santa Anita offers spacious parking lots. During the normal meets, a vast sea of open space exists, just waiting for cars to come and take up space.
Last year, Keeneland hosted a fine Breeders’ Cup and absolutely deserves consideration again in the future, but the limited parking was questioned by fans and a few media folk.
In contrast, read the description of the Santa Anita parking lot on the official Breeders’ Cup website:
“Parking at Santa Anita Park is easy and there are plenty of spaces available – in fact, they have over 2.5 million square feet of parking spaces!”
A couple of regular-goers like to park at the next-door upscale mall, although a fence separating the two facilities discourages the practice.
3. Downhill Turf Course
If anyone feels discouraged whenever handicapping a tough five-furlong turf race, at Santa Anita they can find comfort knowing all turf sprints run at six and a half furlongs. Thanks to a European-style downhill turf course, grass sprinters start on top of a hill, take a slight right-hand initial turn, and then a left turn towards the dirt surface and onto the main portion of the turf course.
Horses cross the dirt surface on their path to the finish line, which is unique compared to most turf sprints. If Santa Anita turf sprints are not easier to analyze, well, at least they feel more interesting to watch.
4. Scenic Background
Can the San Gabriel Mountains work as a reason to hold the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita? For some fans new to this particular racetrack, the stunning backdrop paints an incredible picture during the races.
Sure, the races are the same without the mountains. This is the Breeders’ Cup though, and this important festival of races will benefit from anything extra.
Along with the good weather and scenic background comes unrestricted fashion! Yes, without the threat of rain, planning what to wear is easier for everyone.
Expect to see darker-colored dresses, to match the official Breeders’ Cup colors.
Can readers add other positive reasons to this list?
Even with the above written, it is still a good idea to mix the location of the Breeders’ Cup. In 2017, Del Mar near San Diego will host the Breeders’ Cup for the first time, and it will be exciting to see the races at another smaller venue. In two months though, the racing world turns to Santa Anita, and most fans cannot wait.