A Day At The Races

A Day At The Races + Chef Series

OPENING DAY | Santa Anita


[dropcap letter=”A”]s a native Californian who has lived all of her life in Los Angeles, I grew up knowing the horse races weren’t too far away. My grandfather and father frequented when they were younger but alas I had yet to experience the pulse of hooves running past. So, when the opportunity arose to attend Opening Day at Santa Anita Park? I grabbed my coolest vintage hat and patiently waited for December 26th to arrive.

A perfect Saturday in Los Angeles, the sun was out, the skies were clear with white, billowy clouds painting the skyline. Pulling in to Santa Anita Park at high noon, the parking lot was packed! Ushered to Valet, we dropped our car and headed into the private entrance in the Chandelier Room but not before hearing the hum of the crowd in line, ready to enter the park. Once we were all checked in, wristband on, we headed up to the Chandelier Room. Greeted with a freshly poured glass of Michelle Sparkling Wine (which was later replaced with Veuve Clicquot – I prefer the VC), we rounded the decorated bend to see two ascending staircases, a beautifully adorned room accented with rounded sofas, tables, a well stocked bar with hues of black and white, a jazz trio plucking away on standup bass, a grand piano, percussions, and the undeniable scent of freshly prepared food from the chefs at Church Key LA. The food for the day was hearty and robust but unfortunately, all but one dish had wheat or almonds (both of which I’m allergic to). I did manage to get some slices of roast beef and that was cooked and seasoned nicely.

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After running into old friends, our winner of the giveaway that we partnered with Santa Anita Park to facilitate, Michael Horton, and making a few new friends along the way, we headed into the betting pavilion and for the first time in my life, I bet on the horse races. The man behind the counter was so patient in helping me understand the betting process and after choosing my picks in Races 2 and 3, we headed to grab a glass of bubbles and go out to the track to watch the horse races live. It’s hard to explain the exhilaration of being in the crowd, watching jockeys ride those gorgeous animals so regal and poised around the track. Soon we are cheering for our horses and before you know it, the race is over! A few dollars to collect and a rush of excitement in its stead.

After heading back into the Chandelier Room, we go up to visit the Suite and see the track from a better vantage point (though being eye level with the track is pretty fun too). As we enter through the security coded door, we find our suite and take in a breath of prestige. It’s lovely. Fully stocked with champagne, wine, beer, vegetable plates and bites, every guest in there was dressed to the nines. Men in dapper suits, women in lovely dresses and even kids dressed like eras passed. With dedicated servers to take any food or drink orders, this really is a spectacular way to go to the races.

As the afternoon winds down and Race 7 rounds the bend, into our suite walks Former Los Angeles Mayor, Antonio Ramón Villaraigosa. Accompanied by his girlfriend, he couldn’t have been more generous with his time. Politics aside, to meet anyone who was willing to work for the citizens of Los Angeles, my home town, I have to show some gratitude. All in all, this was one of the most fun days I’ve had and we decided that the horse races for us is what Vegas is to others. This is definitely our new favorite escape (and it’s totally affordable and a whole lot of fun!)


Chef Series No.2 – FEBRUARY 6th {Tickets Available Now}

Santa Anita Park | 285 W Huntington Drive | Arcadia CA 91007

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A look at the day and all of friends and racing fans we met.

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