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But Lower Attendance Expected : Now 50, Santa Anita Is Off and Running

January 03, 1985

Santa Anita race track in Arcadia is celebrating its 50th birthday and the opening of its 48th racing season this winter but officials offer little hope that this season will be successful as last year's, when the average daily attendance was 32,265, the highest of any track in the country.

The hope is slim, a track spokesman said, because there was virtually no rain last year during Southern California's traditional wet season. "We are worried that the weather will not be as good this year," she said. "If the weather cooperates, we expect to do well. Otherwise we won't match last year."

The track was founded 50 years ago but is celebrating only its 48th racing anniversary because it was closed during the World War years of 1942-43 and 1943-44. Racing will be held this year on 89 days, two days fewer than last year.

The track is located on 320 acres at the junction of Huntington Drive and Colorado Place.

Racing is Wednesdays through Sundays except for some holidays.

The new state lottery, heavily opposed by race track interests but pased by the voters in November, is not expected to affect Santa Anita this year because it will not begin until late in the season or after it ends, the spokesman said.

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