Santa Anita Nears the Starting Gate

The ponies are ready to trot at the historic Arcadia track.

There's a lot of common wisdom afloat in the world, both heeded and not so much, but one of the tried-and-true gems is this: If you throw a big party, don't immediately throw another big party after that.

You want to rest up, take some time, read a few books, see friends. But when you're a world-famous horse track that attracts major events like the Breeders' Cup, sometimes you have to keep on with the show.

That's exactly what Santa Anita Park, one of SoCal's (and the planet's) best-known fast-pony spots, plans to do. The Arcadia landmark just hosted the Breeders' Cup last month, it's true, but it is now gearing up for its 76th season. On with the show, indeed.

Opening day at the historic track is Wednesday, Dec. 26, an occasion that's filled with the traditional kick-off fanfare and giveaways, including opening day wall calendars.

The Santa Anita season has a 17-week run, with a closing date of Sunday, April 21.

Note that the park will be closed on Thursday, Dec. 27 but the weekend leading up to New Year's Day will be bustling, as is tradition.

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