Horses and Wine: A Perfect Pairing

Events / Travel

California Wine Festival fans were also treated to a day of racing when the festival was held at Santa Anita.

Santa Anita Park had a full day of California Racing and Wine on Jan. 25 as thousands of people came out to watch the Sunshine Millions California Cup and attend the California Wine Festival.

The California Wine Festival featured wine varietals and food samplings throughout the afternoon, and for a reasonable price. For general admission, attendees received a racing program, a commemorative Santa Anita acrylic wine glass and 12 tastings.

The "sold out" VIP admission to the event provided admission to the Clubhouse, a racing program, a Santa Anita wine glass, a Santa Anita T-shirt and, most importantly, unlimited wine samples with "Fast-Track" access so there was no line to get in the way of your wine!


Golden State winery and vineyards included the Zaca Mesa Winery and Vineyards, Layer Cake Wines, Garnet Vineyards, Clos Pegase, Cartlidge & Browne Winery, Crimson Wine Group, Cline Cellars, Toad Hollow Vineyards, Steelhead Vineyards, Smashberry Wines, J Vineyards and Winery, Laetitia Vineyard and Winery.


Everywhere I looked I saw people having great time, and for some it was their first time visiting Santa Anita Park. I met a number of people who initially came to Santa Anita for the Wine Festival, but quickly were intrigued by the racing atmosphere.

Three young ladies from the Los Angeles area shared with me how much they were enjoying the wine and weather while learning about the horses, with an added bonus of a perfect excuse to dress up on a Saturday afternoon.


Jeff Stipec, senior vice president of hospitality for the Stronach Group, said some of the success for this year's event was due to a restructuring of the event's location. Previously held in the infield at Santa Anita Park, moving the tastings to the main side of the track lended a new energy in the closeness to the action. Attendees were able to sip wine and watch the horses enter the paddock or get right to the rail to watch one of the many stakes races that afternoon.

If you're near Santa Anita Park, mark your calendars for next year's California Wine Festival! To find out about more upcoming events at Santa Anita Park, make sure to visit their events website at

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