Santa Anita Race Track breaks new ground in 2014
With the shutdown of Hollywood Park, Santa Anita Race Track will not be closing mid-April as usual this year. The normal Winter-Spring Meet will close this Sunday April 20th, and the new Spring Meet will open on Friday April 25th and run through June 29th.
Free admission and parking to Infield fans
The biggest change that I see (so far) is the promotion to not charge admission or parking to fans that just want to be in the very spacious Santa Anita Infield section of the track. This new promotion begins Saturday, April 26th.
Fans will have the opportunity to cross over to the grandstand and clubhouse areas for an additional fee.
I like this idea and really hope it brings in more fans. My concern is that the track does not cut down on services such as maintenance, tellers etc…. since they will not be collecting admission from these customers. If that happens it would defeat the whole purpose of this idea.
It will also be interesting to see how many people will park for free in the Gate 6 parking lot and cross over (saving themselves the $4 parking fee). There are still many fans who despise paying a fee to park.
Rolling Doubles are back for the Spring Meet.
In what turned out to be a good idea gone wrong, the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) and Santa Anita have brought back the rolling doubles for the new Spring Meet. The idea of reducing the takeout to 18% (from 22.68%) was good, but limiting the fans to just three doubles a day was a total bust.
Horse Shortage and Weather may be concerns
Santa Anita Management has been pressing for more racing dates the past few years and now with Hollywood Park gone, it has been granted its wish. There will be some challenges to having a successful Spring Meet with a continuing horse shortage, and the possibility of blazing heat in the San Gabriel Valley during the month of June.
The Santa Anita spring (summer) meeting runs from April 25 to June 29. Horse-players will have a bit of a breather before the Del Mar meet which begins on July 17th.