Santa Anita Park to offer temporary free weekend admission to infield

Santa Anita Park said it plans to offer free weekend admission to its infield area starting April 26 and lasting through the end of its current meet June 29.

The legendary horse-racing track in Arcadia also said it would offer free parking in the north parking lot at Gate 6, which provides access to the infield area.

General admission currently costs $5, and parking is $4. During the promotion, fans can cross from the infield area to the grandstand area for $5.

The moves are aimed at helping reverse a steady decline in attendance at Santa Anita (and many other tracks nationwide) over the last two decades owing to several factors, including competition from simulcast wagering, Internet betting and casinos.

Santa Anita officials maintain that it's important to get more people to the track to secure new fans regardless of whether they then wager on thoroughbred horse racing at the track or off-site.

"By offering free parking and free admission in the infield, we're hoping to attract many thousands of new and existing fans and expose them to the best our sport has to offer," Nate Newby, Santa Anita's vice president of marketing, said in a statement.

Santa Anita's promotion also comes in the first year that the track's spring meet, which typically ended in April, was extended to late June. That was due to the closure of Hollywood Park in Inglewood, which led to other Southern California tracks picking up additional race dates.

The promotion also will occur during the three legs of horse racing's Triple Crown, starting with the Kentucky Derby on May 3. One of the favorites in the Kentucky Derby is California Chrome, which won the Santa Anita Derby last Saturday.


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