Santa Anita Park and the City of Hope have announced a partnership that will unite the track’s racing fans and the California racing industry in the fight against cancer by presenting the first-ever “On-Track to Beat Cancer” event at Santa Anita on closing day, April 17.
“We are thrilled to be able to announce this partnership and to invite the public to join the racing industry, The City of Hope, and Santa Anita for an inspirational walk down the stretch following the last race here on closing day,” said Santa Anita vice president of marketing, Allen Gutterman, Feb. 18.
“Through this partnership, we hope to be able to help the City of Hope in their efforts to fight and cure women’s cancers, in particular. For anyone who has ever wanted to walk down the storied Santa Anita stretch, where so many champions have run, this will be an unforgettable day.
“The City of Hope has asked that we encourage all participants to wear purple, which is the official color for the Women’s Cancers, Women’s Cure program. We will have a purple logoed t-shirt for sale commemorating the event.”
Gutterman noted that following the last race on closing day, the quarter-mile walk will be open to all segments of the California racing industry and to the public.
“We are inviting the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC), the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT), the California Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association (CTBA), the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB), handicappers, racing fans, unions, farms, vendors, media, other tracks, and racing associations and anyone at all who loves horse racing to take the walk.”
Bo Derek, a commissioner on the CHRB, has agreed to be a walk leader. She’ll be followed by other celebrities, cancer survivors, members of the public, and representatives of the entire racing industry in the walk from the top of the stretch to the finish line.
“We believe this is a remarkable way to end our meet, knowing that we’re supporting research to find a cure for cancer and doing something good,” Gutterman said. “We have great fans and great horsemen and a ‘Great Race Place’ for a late afternoon walk. For sure, all of us, in one way or another, have been touched by cancer.”
“We’re grateful for the tremendous support from Santa Anita Park and its community of horse racing fans and supporters,” said Steve Martin, associate vice president of marketing for the City of Hope. “This special day marks the beginning of City of Hope and Santa Anita’s combined efforts in ridding cancers for all women.”
Anyone making a minimum $10 donation to The City of Hope on closing day will be eligible to walk on the track. Fans are encouraged to bring signs and banners, create teams, take photos and dedicate the walk to cancer survivors or to the memory of loved ones who have succumbed to or who are battling cancer.
“We’d like to set a Guinness Book of Records mark for the most humans ever to walk in unison on a Thoroughbred track,” said Gutterman. “We don’t know if such a record actually exists, but, if it doesn’t, we’ll set the standard.”
The City of Hope will also be hosting ancillary events at Santa Anita on closing day. A Wellness Center will be erected in the infield, featuring blood pressure exams, healthy food demos, bone marrow transplant updates, and cancer screenings. Doctors and nurses will be present to facilitate those who wish to participate.
Santa Anita’s infield area will also offer fans live bands, family fun events, food trucks and VIP buffet tents.