One of Los Angeles’ most popular and timeless holiday traditions returns on Saturday, December 26 with Opening Day at Santa Anita Park. The festive event kicks off Santa Anita’s 2015/16 Winter Meet with live holiday music, Thoroughbred racing and the return of The Guest Chef Series, held in the historic Chandelier Room at Santa Anita Park.

Opening Day at Santa Anita Park has remained an iconic Los Angeles holiday tradition for more than 80 years. Held the day after Christmas, the annual event draws tens of thousands of attendees to welcome the return of Thoroughbred racing in a festive holiday atmosphere. Tickets to Opening Day at Santa Anita Park begin at $5 for General Admission and $10 for Club House Admission, with race day packages available from $20.


The Winter Meet Opening Day will mark the return of Santa Anita’s popular Guest Chef Series, which showcases Los Angeles’ innovative dining culture. The December 26th event will be hosted by Executive Chef Steven Fretz of LA’s acclaimed restaurant, The Church Key, hailed for its creative new American cuisine and craft cocktails. The Guest Chef Series event will be held in the Chandelier Room and include live music by The Ryan Cross Trio and James Torme, who will celebrate the 70th Anniversary of “The Christmas Song,” written by his father, Mel Torme. 

Tickets to the Guest Chef Series event are $85 including admission to The Chandelier Room, a catered menu, live music, one glass of champagne, daily racing program, wagering tip sheet and live Thoroughbred racing.  For more information or to purchase tickets, visit or call (626) 574-7223.

Notable Race Days at Santa Anita Park

The December 26th Opening Day celebration launches the 2015/16 Winter Meet, which runs through April 10 and includes some of Santa Anita’s most exhilarating racing events, including the $1 million Santa Anita Handicap on March 12, 2016 and the $1 million Santa Anita Derby on April 9, 2016. 

Signature 2016 racing events planned at Santa Anita Park include:

·         Saturday January 30, 2016: Sunshine Millions Day

·         Saturday, February 6, 2016: The San Antonio Stakes and Chinese New Year Celebration

·         Saturday, March 12, 2016: The Santa Anita Handicap

·         Sunday, March 13, 2016: Big Cap Day 

·         Saturday, April 9, 2016: The Santa Anita Derby and 5K Run

·         Saturday, May 7, 2016: Kentucky Derby Day

·         Saturday, May 21, 2016: The Preakness Stakes

·         Saturday, June 11, 2016: The Belmont Stakes

·         Saturday, June 25, 2016: Gold Cup Day

·         Saturday, July 9, 2016: Closing Weekend

·         November 4-5, 2016: The Breeders’ Cup World Championships at Santa Anita Park 

2016 Non-Racing Events at Santa Anita Park 

Santa Anita is more than The Great Race Place. The sporting destination also hosts some of Southern California’s favorite seasonal events, including the largest Easter Egg Hunt in the San Gabriel Valley (March 27, 2016), the Winners’ Circle ICS Chili Cook Off (February 27, 2016) the 5thAnnual Winner’s Circle BBQ Championship (April 2, 2016) and more. 

For tickets to upcoming events, or to view spaces available for private gatherings, visit 

Free Family Fun 

Los Angeles families can bring the brood out to The Great Race Place from noon to 4 p.m. on select weekends throughout the Winter Meet and 2016 season to experience the Family Fun Zone at Santa Anita Park. Located in the infield surrounded by exciting live horse racing, the weekend event includes carnival games, pony rides, jumpers and face painting. Packages are also available from $40 including food and drink for a family of four. For Family Fun Zone dates, visit

The Suites at Santa Anita 

Santa Anita Park is fresh off a $40 million renovation which updated the park’s iconic Art Deco façade and added new signature spaces including The Suites at Santa Anita. Perched in a prime location overlooking the Finish Line, the Suites are the best way to experience the classic elegance and style of American Thoroughbred racing. Each Suite accommodates 20-40 guests and includes valet parking, a betting concierge, private wagering machine, live tellers, personal paddock tours, Club House access, daily racing programs, and a named race watched from the Winner’s Circle.  

For additional information or to book a suite, visit the-suites-at-santa-anita.  

Author: So Cal Life Mag Guest Post

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