Santa needs your help

If you want to see Santa in December then Santa needs your help in the next two weeks. Santa Anita that is. The majority of locals I have spoken to say they have never been. Astonishing! You can be so close to the horses you can smell their breath. The track is so photogenic with the nearby San Gabriel Mtns acting as a backdrop.A day at the races is cheaper than an afternoon at the movies.

My observations on this Oaktree meet:

Attendance: Sometimes falling below 1000, Wednesdays are similar to watching the horses exercise with just the trainers present.

Staffing: The tellers have been replaced by machines. Easy to miss a bet if you have a computer challenged punter in front of you. Many of the refreshment stands remain closed even on weekends.

Jockeys: With small fields, usually six in the first two races rising to nine in the last, even Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith is averaging less than two rides a day. The ladies, Chantel and Kayla have left already. Many others must be contemplating a move.

The owners: With 13% unemployment in L.A. most businessmen will be struggling to justify keeping a racehorse in training when parts of downtown L.A. resembles an open air homeless shelter. The decision to cut purses by 10% will not help. Syndicates proved very useful in England during the recession there.However,this attracted lots of con men who have since be warned off by the jockey club.Read the prospectus closely.See how much the operators will be taking out for their time.

The track: The owners,Magna, have filed chaper 11 bankruptcy.The track is due to be auctioned in February. Fortunately, the economy and problems with the planning depts , have probably killed off any fears of a mall expansion.

The punters:Really a lot of work studying form ,paying the ridiculous $4 parking fee, equally ridiculous $5 for a racing form to be met with a 20% deduction from all bets.Thats just for starters. If you hit a pick six better have a good accountant as additional taxes will in place.Better odds to go to a casino and put everything on red.

Apart from the betting , the spectators are the most fortunate. Free admission on Thursdays for seniors, Friday’s for everyone and other days are often discounted from the already reasonable $5 ($3 for members). Next Saturday,Oct 31st, there will be an Oktoberfest in the infield with music by Berlin.(“I remember hating you for loving me.”) Admission is free to racegoers.

The solution: Adding slots to the racetrack would be fought by the Indian run casinos. Few see the track winning any lawsuit. I don’t see the slots getting too much play at Santa Anita. I wonder if they could add poker or even bingo ? The opening of a sportsbook at the Commerce casino might have caused a drop in attendance but should raise the handle.(The money bet on races).

The races need to be more competitive. Watching the racing from Santa Anita followed by Japan, Australia and Dubai plus the grass racing in GB  is like comparing the LA Galaxy with the real soccer teams in Europe with Santa Anita being the Galaxy.

The easiest solution is if all of the people of SGV visit the track at least once in the final two weeks of the meet.  With the weather playing its part you will not be disappointed.fromtheinfield

Leave a Comment