Santa Anita Park and Los Alamitos Race Course reopened to the public Friday, a little more than a year after closing due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The Arcadia track's opening came one day before the 84th running of the Runhappy Santa Anita Derby, one of the highlights of its annual calendar.
Attendance is limited to 20% in accordance with local health orders, and fans must purchase tickets in advance, which will include an assigned seat.
Tickets must be purchased in “pods” of two, four or six seats.
No individual tickets are being sold. However, the track will offer “bring your own seat” admission on the infield, with tickets available in quantities from one to six. For those tickets, attendees can bring their own lawn chairs, food and beverages -- but no alcohol. All tickets must be purchased in advance, with no walk-up purchase permitted.
“We are extremely excited to welcome back our racing fans to Santa Anita, just in time for the Santa Anita Derby,” said Nate Newby, Santa Anita's senior vice president and general manager.
“It hasn't been the same without the people who are so important to this sport,” he said. “While the current restrictions are going to limit the size of the crowds, we are working hard to provide a memorable experience for our guests and to thank them for their support.”
The track closed to the public last March 27, but like other California racetracks it has continued to hold races without fans in attendance.
Los Alamitos Race Course will reopen for live nighttime racing later. Fans will be able to access the Vessels Club and mezzanine patio and terrace plus outdoor grandstand apron areas. Indoor wagering and seating facilities will remain closed until further notice.