With a new track surface in place, Santa Anita Park opened the doors for its 74th winter/spring meet Dec. 26 with 34,268 fans in attendance for a nine-race program that included four stakes. The track opened on schedule, despite having endured 14 1/4 inches of rain over the past nine days, including three quarters of an inch overnight before the opener.
“I’ll have to admit, I was a little nervous last night,” said Santa Anita president George Haines. “To be able to open on schedule and put on a world-class show as we did today, is incredibly gratifying. This was a great day for our fans and our horsemen. Due to the weather we’ve experienced, we faced some very significant challenges and we proved that this new track can handle just about anything. The racing was terrific and although we had some fast times, we had no problems during any of the races, and that is more important to us than anything else.”
Haines said the track’s performance on opening day 2010 illustrated that the Southern California oval still one of the nation’s premier sporting venues.
“I think it’s safe to say that we again demonstrated in a very profound way that our fans will continue to support Santa Anita in a big way on our big days. We’re very hopeful we can build on the momentum we generated today and carry it through the entire meet. As much as anything else, I think it was imperative for us to show our fans and horsemen that we are back in business. Despite the fact we took on an unprecedented amount of rain leading into our opener, the new surface, as well as the plant, came through with flying colors.”
On-track wagering totaled $3,851,594 and total mutuel handle reached $11,707,276.