(from Santa Anita notes)
An Omaha, Neb., woman with inoperable cervical cancer fulfilled a lifelong wish this weekend to visit Santa Anita Park.
“This is my favorite track,” said Sherry Alice during a winner’s circle ceremony after the second race Jan. 23. She said Santa Anita was always the place she wanted to visit.
“When my son learned I had cancer, he asked if there was any trip on my wish list, like Hawaii, or some exotic vacation spot," Alice said. "And I told him, ‘Santa Anita’”
Explained her cousin, Jackie Jordan: “After the shock of the terrible news wore off, Sherry was determined to plan her own ‘bucket list.’ The top item was to visit Santa Anita before she dies. Her children arranged for the trip through this weekend."
Jordan said that Alice has a racing background.
“Sherry's grandfather owned race horses from the 1940s and she has three cousins who were or are jockeys," Jordan said. "She worked at Ak-Sar-Ben until they closed the track (in 1995). Now she attends simulcasting several times a week, so this trip to Santa Anita is a lifelong dream.
“There are two jockeys she has followed for years. She knew Garrett Gomez when he raced at Ak-Sar-Ben, and Mike Smith is a good friend of her cousin's."
Alice hugged Gomez during a brief reunion in the winner's circle.
“Garrett was a baby rider when I knew him,” Alice said, “Mike Smith rode at Ak-Sar-Ben. My grandfather, V.O. Hunter, ran horses out there. My whole family’s been in horse racing. I love it.”