ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 21, 2010)—Santa Anita Park, which has been idle as a live racing venue since April 18, will open for its 74th winter/spring meeting on Sunday, with a special first post time of 12 noon.

A nine-race card is planned, with two Grade I events, the $250,000 Malibu Stakes and the $250,000 La Brea Stakes leading the way. The Grade II, $150,000 Sir Beaufort Stakes and the $100,000 California Breeders’ Champion Stakes will serve as supporting features on what figures to be a day of great racing and entertainment.

Santa Anita, which first opened on Dec. 25, 1934, is an iconic figure on the Southern California sports landscape and opening day is not only steeped in tradition, but it has become one of the most highly anticipated dates on the sports calendar.

In addition to great racing action, fans will be treated on Sunday to a team of aerial skydivers, who will parachute into the storied Great Race Place between races. In addition to the skydivers, fans of all ages will have an up-close and personal chance to watch and enjoy the Budweiser Clydesdales, as they perform in front of the grandstand throughout the day.

Although opening day is always a highly anticipated event, this year the anticipation is perhaps greater than in many years--due to the fact that Santa Anita has been “dark” for a longer period than at any time since 1968, and on account of the fact Santa Anita has returned to an all-natural dirt main track.

“All of our advance sales are way up,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “We’ve been idle for a long time and people are very anxious to come back to Santa Anita and we’re anxious to have them back. Additionally, many of our best customers are looking forward to racing on a dirt surface again, as are our horsemen.

“The weather forecast, starting on Thursday, is very favorable and we’re looking forward to good weather on Sunday. It should be an historic and very exciting day and we’re looking forward to welcoming everyone back.”

Entries for Sunday’s card will be taken on Wednesday. For reservations and more information on opening day, fans are encouraged to visit, or to call (626) 574-RACE.