Santa Anita Rolls With Earthquake During Race

No apparent damage was done to the grandstand or barn area, officials report.

A 6.9 earthquake centered approximately 175 miles south of Santa Anita Park had no effect upon a field of seven horses running one mile on turf during the tremblor April 4.

The quake, centered near the border town of Mexicali, occurred at 3:40 p.m. PDT. It went unnoticed by all jockeys competing in race seven: Rafael Bejarano, Joe Talamo, Jose Valdivia Jr., Martin Garcia, Joel Rosario (who rode the winner, Well Monied), Victor Espinoza, and David Flores.           

“I’d say we started shaking at about the half-mile pole,” Santa Anita announcer Trevor Denman said. “This is my second earthquake call; the first one happened about 15 years ago. With this one, it seemed like it was just going on and on. I definitely knew there was something amiss, but as they say, the show must go on. It seemed like it lasted about a minute.”

Preliminary reports indicate the quake was centered about 19 miles southeast of Mexicali, which is near Yuma, Ariz., on the Mexican border.

There is no apparent structural damage to the Santa Anita grandstand or barn area. The elevator for track officials and the press was knocked out by the quake, however.

Santa Anita, which opened Dec. 25, 1934, hosted the 73rd running of the Santa Anita Derby (gr. I) a day earlier with more than 40,000 in attendance.