Santa Anita eyes Good Friday for Horse Racing Fans’ return

Santa Anita Reaccredited by NTRA Safety & Integrity AllianceThere’s good news aplenty concerning the Southern California horse racing scene.

Santa Anita plans to begin welcoming fans back Friday, April 2, according to Santa Anita general manager Nate Newby.

The track’s been devoid of fans since last March when shutdowns began throughout the country because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“That’s our current plan, to open at limited capacity starting April 2,” Newby said during a telephone interview Thursday. “We are waiting for some more information from either the state or the county, or both, that we expect to get in the next few days, either late this week or early next week. We don’t have any (further) details until we see the detailed guidelines.”

Newby said Santa Anita management expects the guideline to be 20% of reserved seating.

“There’s a big difference between capacity and reserved seating,” he said. “There will be no walking around, general-admission type (thing).”

Racing has been hurt less by the pandemic than other sports because about 90% of its wagering dollars come from off-track bettors.

Newby said the first half of Santa Anita’s winter-spring meet has gone well…

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About Editor

Rich Nilsen is a 19-time qualifier to the National Horseplayers Championship (NHC), an event he has cashed in four times. He was the first player to finish in the top 10 of the NHC twice. A former executive with and a member of the NHC Players’ Committee, Rich is a graduate of the University of Louisville Equine Business Program and is founder of, a site devoted to horse racing education and promotion.

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