On weekends during race meets, Santa Anita hosts an hour long behind the scenes tour. Starting at Clocker’s Corner, a tram takes visitors around the barn area before pulling up front near the main entrance. From there visitors go on a walking tour of the receiving barn, the jockey’s room and the paddock before stopping at the carriage horse stables to see the horses.
I’ve been to Santa Anita a lot over the last two years, but never had done the tour. Wanting to pick up a California Chrome shirt, I stopped by today to finally go. The tour is free, and it really is a fun thing to do if you have the time. Our guide was very knowledgeable and went through the process of training and race day, as well as the history of Santa Anita. She also had some stories about the production of Seabiscuit, which was filmed at the track. Even if you’re pretty familiar with racing and horses, getting to see the receiving barn (where the horses go to be identified and have drug samples taken before and after the race) and the jockey’s room was a neat behind-the-scenes treat. We were also given general admission if we wanted to stay for the races.
After the tour, I found out that Victor Espinoza, who just won the Kentucky Derby on California Chrome, would be signing posters. So all in all it was a nice few hours at the track.