Opening day at Santa Anita
Nearly 35,000 people turned up for the opening of Santa Anita Park, filling the grandstands and packing the popular Front Runner restaurant. Still others watched from the exclusive Director's Room, which is reserved for invited guests and where the dress code requires "daytime business attire" and specifically prohibits jeans, jogging suits, zippered jackets and other items that might detract from the elegance of the distinctive wood-paneled room.
There, enjoying hot and cold buffets and a dessert bar of fresh berries, pastries and ice cream sundaes, were Bo Derek, pictured above, a California Horse Racing Board member and (of course) the star of "10"; Sherwood Chillingworth, the Oak Tree Racing Assn.'s vice president, and his wife Sandy; Arcadia City Manager Don Penman and his wife Debbie; Hollywood Park President Jack Liebau and his wife, Charlene; California's former Atty. Gen. John Van de Kamp and his wife, Andrea, and Santa Anita President George Haines and his wife Adrienne.
Andrea Van de Kamp studied the program, conferring with Adrienne Haines, before placing her bets. Many in the Director's Room owned horses, but Van de Kamp said she was not among them. “If you want to lose money, buy a horse," she said.
Given the recent rainstorms, George Haines admitted to having had concerns about attendance. “Southern California fans are fickle,” he said. “They only want to come out in good weather.”
But sunshine prevailed, and in celebration of the Dec. 26 opening, the Red Bull Sky Diving Team descended from the skies, dropping from an airplane to the racetrack's new dirt surface and coasting to the finish line.
-- Ellen Olivier
Photo: Bo Derek, center, chats with Rep. David Dreier (R-San Dimas), right. Credit: Benoit Photo