It was another early start to my journey today, but it’s never too early to get up if your destination is Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. My flight left from JFK at 7 a.m., so I managed to hop in a taxi by 5 a.m. to get to the airport with plenty of time: no way was I going to miss my flight when Super Saturday awaited me!
Thankfully, there was minimal traffic on the way to the airport and security lines were reasonable – only about a 40-minute wait, practically a miracle at JFK – and by 6:30 I was loading onto the plane and L.A.-bound.
I have to give a shout out to the awesome couple sitting in row 13 with me: they had the two outside seats and I was stuck in the middle for the six-hour trip. When I arrived at the bank of seats, they asked me if I minded trading my middle seat for the aisle seat so they could sit together. I nearly wept with gratitude and then informed them that I didn’t mind at all. It was a Super Saturday miracle.
As the plane took off and we were waiting for the flight attendants to tell us that it was now safe to turn on our electronic devices, I spent the downtime handicapping Belmont races. This is an excellent way to pass the time on an airplane and I highly recommend it.
After an extraordinarily easy flight, I landed at LAX and made my way to Arcadia. I was (and this will come as no surprise to those that have stopped by this blog before) positively ravenous. There was only one solution to this problem: In ‘N’ Out Burger. If you have never had this amazing, heaven-sent concoction, it is worth the trip to the West Coast just to try it out. I love them so much that I have actually dreamt of them. Once I got to my hotel and dumped my stuff, I walked straight back out the door and kept going until I reached that Valhalla of fast food.
N.B. I did not eat all three of these burgers. Yet. But they do hold up really well and my hotel room has a microwave.
Double Double Animal Style, baby! I actually took a selfie of me about to take my first bite of In ‘N’ Out since April, but when I checked out the photo when I got back to my hotel room I realized that I literally look possessed and I just cannot bring myself to put that picture on the Internet. I think my mom occasionally reads this blog, and I’m pretty sure she would not approve of one of her daughters looking that frantically excited about food.
Anyhow: horse racing! After taking down my delicious burger it was time to get to Santa Anita. Tomorrow is opening day of their fall meet, so preparations were underway to put the final polish on the place. I was mainly there to pick up my press credentials, but I snapped a few photos of the final touches being put on the “Great Race Place.”
One of my favorite things about Santa Anita is the artwork interspersed throughout the grounds. The track is essentially a sculpture garden, with the highlight (for me, at least) being the three sculptures of horses made immortal by their accomplishments on the racetrack.
The statue of Seabiscuit got some final floral flourishes in anticipation of the weekend’s festivities:
And Zenyatta danced in sculpture form under the banners of Santa Anita:
The John Henry statue gazes over the Santa Anita grounds as well: an amazing horse who accomplished so much at this historic track:
I’ll leave you with a few last images of Santa Anita from today to get you excited for tomorrow’s opening day! Thanks as always for stopping by, and I’ll be back with lots more for you on Friday!