SANTA ANITA TO MAINTAIN AGGRESSIVE SOCIAL MEDIA EFFORT AS TWITTER, FACEBOOK & YOUTUBE CONTINUE TO ASSIST VARIED APPROACH, GREAT RACE PLACE LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE IN ADVANCE OF OPENING DAY ON DEC. 26TH

ARCADIA, Calif. (Dec. 19, 2012)—Santa Anita Park, which launched a significant social media effort two years ago, has announced plans to intensify its efforts through aggressive use of platforms such as; Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, email blasts, online contests and conventional press releases that incorporate photographs—with all efforts linked to its new-look website, www.santaanita.com.

“We have had tremendous response, in terms of hits, through all of these forms of social media,” said Katie Abbott, Santa Anita’s Social Media Manager. “This sport is absolutely perfect for Twitter and Facebook, because there is ‘down time’ between races, during morning workouts, etc.

“At this past Autumn Meet, on Facebook alone, we had 22,498 total fans, 1,866 of whom were new. That was an increase of 62 percent over last spring and there’s no doubt we can build upon that beginning with opening day, Dec. 26.”

Abbott, a 26-year-old graduate of California State University, Chico, is on-site at The Great Race Place from early morning training hours through the last race official, reporting via text and photos from the Paddock, Winner’s Circle and the backstretch.

“I’m lucky. I love horses and I love talking about and reporting on them,” she said. “(Trainer) Carla Gaines is a friend of mine, so I’ve been at her barn a lot in the mornings, learning everything I can. By being out here, I’m able to get the word out fast on certain horses working, track conditions, what the weather is like, what jockeys are going to ride what horses, and things like that.

“I’ve set my sights on creating visually engaging updates in real time that would lead to building new racing fans as well as more user-generated content from existing fans during their visits to Santa Anita. Each day I try to create content that will entice new and long-time fans to interact with us as well as encourage them to visit the track and share their experiences with their online community through on-site photos.

“These are things that our fans are thirsting for and it helps them to be much better informed and in many cases, more enthusiastic before they come out to the races, or they play online.”

Speaking of online, Santa Anita will launch a new, fan-friendly website on Thursday with links to all of its social media efforts.

“We’re excited about the new website and we think our fans are going to love it,” said Andrew Arthur, Santa Anita’s Manager of New Media. “We’ve found the main traffic for our website is Programs, Results, Entries, the Calendar, and Pro’s Picks (handicapping). Those ‘quick links’ can now be found right below the Santa Anita Park logo on the home page.

“In addition to all that Katie is doing throughout the day, we’ll also be offering our fans easy access to Flip Cam interviews that we post on YouTube.”

Along with Abbott, Arthur, a 25-year-old graduate of St. Mary’s College in San Francisco, exemplifies Santa Anita’s renewed efforts to reach out and communicate with a younger, more diverse audience—who in many cases, are inclined to wager on the run.

“We want to remind folks about our mobile site,” continued Arthur. “Under the Cybertote tab, mobile users can download overnights, programs, live odds, will-pays, results, and changes. We’ve significantly strengthened our wireless network and we encourage fans to sign up and bet on their mobile device while on-track.

“If we can get new and existing fans to look for us on Twitter, Facebook, etc, we have a legitimate chance to get them out here to Santa Anita—and that’s our primary objective.”

For more information on Santa Anita’s 71-day winter/spring meeting and opening day Dec. 26, visit www.santaanita.com, or call (626) 574-RACE.