ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 8, 2010)—Santa Anita Park, America’s premier winter racing venue, will open its gates for its traditional winter/spring meeting on Dec. 26, and its opening is eagerly awaited by not only racing fans nationwide, but by businesses of all kinds throughout Southern California and beyond.

“Over the course of the first week, we’ll employ and average of 1,000 to 1,200 people per day,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “Santa Anita first opened in 1934, and along with the fact we’re the longest running major sports enterprise in California, we employ more people on a seasonal basis than just about anyone else in this region.”

Santa Anita, which opened on Dec. 25, 1934, and has accommodated crowds in excess of 85,000, employs a wide variety of people.

“On opening day, we expect to have more than 400 mutuel tellers on-line and we’ll also have anywhere from 250 to 300 servers, bartenders, ushers and customer service people working. Additionally, we’ll have about 15 Jockey Room valets, the same number of assistant starters on the starting gate and 10 to 12 people operating heavy equipment like tractors and water trucks, which are required each racing day.

“We also have a full staff of union tradesmen, plumbers, electricians, carpenters, janitorial, etc. When you factor in staffing that is required in our Broadcast Center, Racing Office, Marketing and Graphics, Press Box and parking lots, you begin to realize that all of these people, collectively, have a very significant impact on the economy in this area.

“The overall economic impact of our live racing is felt not just locally, but throughout California and around the country. When you consider some of the integral components of our sport, from the point of conception, to the feed, the training, transportation and all of the people and businesses that work in and are effected by these various aspects of our industry, you begin to realize just how important a strong, viable Santa Anita is.”

Haines also noted that big crowds are expected during Santa Anita’s opening week and that bodes well for other businesses in the area as well.

“All of our advance ticket sales are up significantly over last year and we’re hoping to have more than 40,000 people here on opening day. Whenever we’re able to generate big on-track crowds, it has an immediate effect locally, on places like hotels, bars, restaurants, and other service-oriented businesses.”

Peter Amundson, mayor of the city of Arcadia agreed.

“A prosperous Santa Anita Park is vital to the city of Arcadia, its businesses and the community at-large,” said Amundson, who also grew up in Arcadia. “Everywhere I go, people are thirsting for Santa Anita to reopen. Santa Anita has been idle as a live racing facility since April and that’s the longest dry-run here in Arcadia since 1968. It’s left a tangible void in the community, the likes of which I haven’t seen in my lifetime.

“A wide variety of businesses have felt the effect of this. Hotels and restaurants are really hurting and we are all very excited that racing is coming back the day after Christmas.

“When Santa Anita is up and running, the city of Arcadia benefits directly by increased room occupancy and sales tax revenues and beyond that, is the fact that fans and employees of Santa Anita are inclined to shop and spend money here and the benefits are immediate. We can’t wait for opening day!”

For more information on opening day and upcoming racing action, go to