Beautiful horses, accomplished jockeys and people with dreams of winning big will converge on Santa Anita Park this weekend for the jewel of thoroughbred competition: the Breeders Cup.
Matt McSweeny of Matt & Denny’s Ale House knows the 70-degree weather and the gorgeous backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains will help bring thousands of visitors to the host city of Arcadia – and potentially through his doors for “a lot of food, a lot of beer, a lot of cocktails.”
McSweeny expects a huge bump in earnings for the week, especially during the two days of racing Friday and Saturday. This year, the LA venue will host back-to-back Breeders’ Cup competitions.
"It averages 80 percent more of what you get to charge during that time," said Embassy Suites Hotel manager Gregory Case.
Mike Thomas, co-owner of The Derby, agrees that that races are good for business.
“We have been full for at least six months,” he said.
The Derby is also welcoming new customers because nothing says horse racing like a decades-old eatery with ties to an equestrian legend. Thomas said the restaurant was originally owned by George Wolfe, Sea Biscuit’s jockey.
Thomas anticipates The Derby will do 35 percent more business this time of year because of the cup.
The last time the breeders cup was at Santa Anita for consecutive years was 2008-09, during that time $60 million was generated, not just in Arcadia but the entire Los Angeles area.
Scott Hettrick, executive director of the Arcadia Chamber of Commerce, said the ripple effect makes sense.
“People are coming from all over the world and sometimes it’s their first time in LA with their families and they want to go to the beach, they want to check out Disneyland,” he said.
There's a special movie screening of the new Bond film at the local theater, and live music when the track is dark, but the main attraction remains the majestic animals.
They are available for anyone to see for free during the morning hours at Clockers Corner and if visitors are hungry, thirsty or ready to shop, there are plenty of places that’ll satisfy.
In the end shop owners are hoping to make a good first impression, so that people come back to visit, races or no races.