A crowd of 27,273 attended the 76th opening day at Santa Anita Park Dec. 26.
Although the number was much lower than last year, it was respectable considering the heavy overnight rains that only cleared shortly before the day’s races.
Also, Wednesday is not the most popular day of the week to draw more than the ardent fans.
Meanwhile, Santa Anita officials announced plans to expand the company’s social media efforts through aggressive use of platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, email blasts, online contests and conventional press releases that incorporate photographs—with all efforts linked to its new-look website, www.santaanita.com.
Social Media Manager Katie Abbott, 26, says horse racing “is absolutely perfect for Twitter and Facebook because there is ‘down time’ between races, during morning workouts, etc.”
Santa Anita had an impressive 22,498 total Facebook fans during the recent Autumn Meet, 1,866 of whom were new, and 62% more than last spring. Abbott files reports all day via text and photos from the Paddock, Winner’s Circle and the backstretch.
“I’m able to get the word out fast on certain horses working, track conditions, what the weather is like, what jockeys are going to ride what horses, and things like that,” she says. “These are things that our fans are thirsting for and it helps them to be much better informed and in many cases, more enthusiastic before they come out to the races, or they play online.”
The new site offers ‘quick links’ just below the main logo on the home page to the areas that generate the most traffic (usage), Programs, Results, Entries, the Calendar, and Pro’s Picks (handicapping), says Andrew Arthur, 25, Manager of New Media.
The site also offers easy access to Flip Cam interviews that are posted on YouTube.
Additionally, under the Cybertote tab, mobile users can download overnights, programs, live odds, will-pays, results, and changes.
For more information on Santa Anita’s 71-day winter/spring meeting and opening day Dec. 26, visit www.santaanita.com, or call (626) 574-RACE.
— By Scott Hettrick