Santa Anita Derby Diaries: Glorious Gormley

Events / Travel
Just before the call to the post, Gormley walks through the paddock at Santa Anita Park, prior to winning Saturday’s Santa Anita Derby. (Penelope P. Miller/America's Best Racing)

Arcadia, California’s Santa Anita Park is one of my favorite places on Earth. Nestled at the foot of the San Gabriel Mountains just outside of Los Angeles, the track is storybook-perfect in its beauty with sweeping views, Art Deco architecture, and some of the most amazing landscaping I’ve ever seen. And, of course, at the center of it all is world-class Thoroughbred racing with a rich history: this place has seen runners spanning from the legendary Seabiscuit in the 1930s to 2015’s Triple Crown winner American Pharoah.

And the Santa Anita Derby is a special race at this special track: with 100 Kentucky Derby points on the line, the Santa Anita Derby guarantees its winner a spot in the starting gate on the first Saturday in May at Churchill Downs. Santa Anita Derby winners tend to fare well there; of the last five years, two winners of this race have captured the Run for the Roses: I’ll Have Another in 2012 and California Chrome in 2014. So when I arrived at Santa Anita Park, it was with a heart full of hope that I may get a preview of this year’s Kentucky Derby winner while I basked in the California sun.

In the slideshow below, I’ll recount my Santa Anita Derby day at the Great Race Place. It was an incredible afternoon, and I’m excited to share it!

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