The Christmas wrappings still should be unfurling under the tree when Santa Anita Race Track in Arcadia opens the day after Christmas. Everyone's excited because the occasion inaugurates the track's 50th year of racing. Santa Anita actually opened Christmas Day 1934, but there was no racing season for several years during World War II.
For the occasion Robert P. Strub, Santa Anita president and president of the Los Angeles Turf Club, and his wife, Betty, will be hosting luncheon for nearly 100 guests in the Directors' Room at the park. Gov. George and Gloria Deukmejian have accepted. So have Jean and William French Smith, Supervisor and Mrs. Pete Schabarum, Frederic and Lotsie Giersch (they've invited friends to their home near Orange Grove Boulevard for brunch following the Rose Bowl Parade), Clement and Lynn Hirsch, and Hannah and Ed Carter.
The feature race will be the Malibu Stakes, one of three in the Strub Series named for Dr. Charles H. Strub, father of Bob Strub and the leading founder of the track.
GLOW OF CANDLELIGHT: Christmas wouldn't be Christmas without the Candlelight Ball. The Juniors of the Social Service Auxiliary put themselves on a "Winter Carnival Carousel," hung snowflakes from the rafters of the International Ballroom of the Beverly Hilton, gold-garlanded white horses on the walls and and walked through snow the other evening. Actually, it was fluff that designer John Daly whipped up for atmosphere. And the first to enter were ball chairman Chris Newman and her husband, Dick (who built the new additions at Los Angeles Airport). He also chaired the Men's Committee.
Some members had dieted for weeks, anticipating what may be traditionally Los Angeles' most elaborate hors d'oeuvres buffet--blinis, assorted caviar, jumbo shrimp with Dijonnaise, crab claws, steak tartare, duck, assorted fromages, cream cheese pizza, pork loin slices, hot brie, baby scallops and tempura mushrooms--for starters.
Naturally, dinner was served--angel hair pasta, tournedos of beef, grand marnier souffles topped with chocolate snowflakes. Had they not danced the evening away to Bob Gail's Orchestra, attendees would have been weighted down overnight. President Peggy Fletcher and her husband, Frederick, were giving welcomes. So were Sisters Petra Keller, general director of the Sisters of Social Service, and Sister Jennifer Gaeta, director of Regis House. It's Regis House, the community center, which will reap the $100,000 proceeds.
Of course, there are a billion ways to raise funds. Juniors do it with their program memento, selling raffle tickets, discounts on jewelry, the silent auction. Photographs of adorable children and happy families captured by Jonathan and Lisa Farrer--including the children of Mary Jo and John Bernard, the Conrad Bachmann family, David and Denise Melone and Kelly and J. W. Hobson--filled the program. Simon and Pat Lorne, pictured in helmets on their dirt bikes, provided humorous one-upmanship. William and Linda Blackburn won the $5,000 in the raffle; a huge crowd eyed the jewelry, and the silent auction was a success--the Newmans bid handsomely on the Lornes' Lake Arrowhead summer house, and the Fletcher Halls won the round trip for two to Tokyo.
Partying through the night were Tom and Margaret Larkin (she was decorations chairman with Mrs. Douglas C. Purdy), Chris Kroener and Lori Allen (her self-designed dress of black velvet and gold lame was stunning), Susan Barry and Bob Baggott, the Peter Vogelsangs, Thomas and Daphne Lorne, the Kenneth Purcells, the Michael K. Barnoskis, the Thomas P. Hodgkisses, the Mark Overlands, the John Stephenses, the Richard Kerns, the Michael McCarthys, the Gary Phillipses, the Paul Bickenbachs, the Theodore Barrys and the Michael Burnses.
CHRISTMAS PLEASURES: The candlelight also glowed for Norma and David McIntyre's dinner and dancing black-tie festivities at the Bistro Garden. Nearly 80 eased into the Pavilion, with just enough room for spirited dancing to Clark Keen's band.
The innumerable highlights ranged from the plenitude of the mellow 1981 Jordan Cabernet Savignon to the red gift bags filled with Mrs. Field's Cookies, presented as farewells. The dance floor was never empty, not with the talents of superb dancers Jay and Barbara Niblo, Ken and Betty Morgan, Joni and Clark Smith, Joan McGarty and Judge Richard Wells, Diane and Rick Mogan, and Maggie Edwards and Gene Croft.
More enjoying were Olin and Ann Barret, Janice and Bob Carpenter, Mary and Phil Hawley, Bentley Kennedy and Ann Powers, Margaret Nutt and Daryl Synder, Lynn and Hugh Evans, Phil Homme, and Dorothy and John Shea. Norma's brother-in-law, Thomas Allen, there with his wife, Marilyn (Norma's sister), proposed the first toast, which inspired Arthur McClure for the second.