ARCADIA, Calif. (April 21, 2013)—Frank Garcia, Santa Anita’s Head Stable Gateman, who greets fans, horsemen and employees with an acknowledging smile at the track’s Association Gate from 5 a.m. to 1 p.m. five days a week, has been unanimously chosen as Santa Anita’s Employee of the Meet for the 2012/13 stand.

An Air Force veteran who graduated from Arcadia High School in 1984, Garcia came to work at The Great Race Place in 1994 and is known and respected as a man who is always positive and helpful—beyond the call of duty.

“I think it’s the people around me that keep me upbeat,” said Garcia. “I think the people coming in make it easy for me to be that way. I don’t think it has anything to do with me, it has everything to do with them. Sometimes the people that haven’t been here before, and are excited to be here, I think that’s what keeps you going.”

Garcia and his wife, Lana, reside in Rancho Cucamonga with their six children, who range in ages from six to 13.

“For many people coming to Santa Anita, Frank is the first person they encounter,” said Santa Anita President George Haines. “He is an invaluable employee. Many of the people he greets are coming here for the first time, and Frank is a ray of sunshine to them all. Frank’s just a great ambassador for us and we are so fortunate to have had him here all these years.”

Garcia, 46, first came to Santa Anita as a small boy, with his father.

“My dad would bring me out every now again after the eighth race, ‘cause we could get in free,” said Garcia. “I remember one weekend when I was about six years old, we got to see Roy Rogers and I got to meet him in the Walking Ring.

“I’m optimistic about Santa Anita’s future. Once everything with Hollywood (Park) is settled, I think Santa Anita will be in a better position. I think Santa Anita is the best place to be, and not just because I work here.

“Even if they don’t gamble, if you can get someone out here, to watch a Thoroughbred, to look at a Thoroughbred in the Paddock Gardens, I think you will have a fan. I think getting people out here, and treating them right when they are here, that’s the key.”

And, if great employees are “the key,” Santa Anita’s future is more than secure with its 2012/13 Employee of the Meet, Frank Garcia.