SANTA ANITA ATTRACTS 34,268 FOR 74TH OPENER, FOUR GRADED STAKES HEAD NINE-RACE PROGRAM

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 26, 2010)—Despite weathering 14 ¼ inches of rain over the past nine days, including three quarters of an inch overnight, venerable Santa Anita Park opened its doors for its 74th winter/spring meeting in rollicking fashion, as 34,268 came to The Great Race Place for a nine-race program that included four stakes.

“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 also noted that although Santa Anita first opened on Dec. 25, 1934, it is 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.”

Santa Anita handled $3,851,594 on-track and total mutuel handle reached $11,707,276.

Santa Anita will present a nine-race program on Monday and be dark Tuesday. Racing will then resume on Wednesday and continue through Sunday, Jan. 2. First post time all days will be at 12:30 p.m.

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