Santa Anita, 14 miles from downtown Los Angeles, is the most beautiful race track in the country. Only 26 years old, it is not a refuge of tradition like Belmont Park or Churchill Downs. Nor is it, like Aqueduct, a masterpiece of cold efficiency. There is, perhaps, more charm to Saratoga's ancient buildings and massive shade trees. But Santa Anita manages gracefully to combine visual elegance and creature comforts with the functional blessings of modern architecture. It has given racing some exciting runners—Noor, Sea-biscuit, Swaps, Hillsdale, Round Table and Silky Sullivan. Since 1953 the Camino Real turf course (right) has helped promote grass racing among horsemen who tended to resist it. Track management has made a day at the races a pleasurable experience, and the public has responded. The largest racing crowd of the year, 71,017, attended the 1960 opening. On the following pages are more views of the track and grounds.
Amid the brilliant yellow of giant pansies in Santa Anita's lush infield, whole families turn a day at the races into a lively picnic. Unlike some states, California does not bar children at race tracks if they are accompanied by adults.
Horses enter the stretch against a backdrop of turf course and a public park and arboretum.
Mountains, palms and flowers frame a magnificent view of the backstretch and a turf course.
February 6, 1961
Jockeys pull up after the finish as the rays off a late-afternoon sun splash against the distant San Gabriel mountains and rain clouds drift slowly over the infield's tall Washingtonia palms.