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Itinerary

A Day at the Races

April 02, 1998|BOOTH MOORE

On your mark, get set, go! Spend a spring weekend watching racing.

Saturday

Santa Anita Park's Derby Day not only offers the Santa Anita Derby, a stepping-stone to the Kentucky Derby, and nine thoroughbred races, but also a day full of activities for the whole family.

While waiting for the four-legged racing action to start at noon, those with two legs can participate in an early morning 5K Run/Walk. The race begins at 8 a.m. (registration begins at 7 a.m.) and follows a course through the grounds of Santa Anita and the Arboretum of Los Angeles. There will be a Kids' Mile Fun Run at 9:30 a.m. on the training track and live music, food and booths featuring local businesses on the infield. $18 for adults, $10 for children 12 and under (includes T-shirt, admission to racetrack and parking for the day).

Or, begin the day at Clockers' Corner. This Santa Anita landmark opens early so visitors can gather for coffee, eggs and a view of the horses going through their morning workouts. 7:30-10 a.m. Free stable tours depart from Clockers' Corner every 15 minutes beginning at 8 a.m. Guests board a tram for a narrated, behind-the-scenes visit to the park's back area, where the horses live. Last tour departs 9:15 a.m.

A quick walk through tunnels beneath the grandstand and track brings you to the park's infield. Picnics are welcome within the landscaped center, where there is a large playground to keep kids happy all day.

There will also be a Microbrew Festival on the infield with more than 20 local microbrews, live music by alternative rock band "Fast Times" and appearances by KROQ personalities. Seven-ounce samples, $1.50. Also, the 26th annual Rolls Royce and Bentley "Concours d'Elegance" car show rolls more than 100 classic and current models onto infield grounds.

Didn't bring a picnic? Santa Anita has plenty of dining options, from sit-down restaurants including the Americana Room, the Turf Club, Club House Terrace and Sierra Vista Terrace to the cafeteria-style El Mercado and the Paddock Room, with its wide selection of fast foods.

Santa Anita Park is in Arcadia, 14 miles northeast of downtown L.A. The main gates are just off the Foothill Freeway (I-210) at the Huntington Drive exit. Park admission: $4, general (includes grandstand, infield, Paddock Room and Gardens admission); $6, clubhouse (includes access to waiter-served dining overlooking the track); $10 for Turf Club (finish-line views, dress code). Children under 17 are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Reservations required for Turf Club. (626) 574-RACE for all inquiries.

Sunday

The 24th annual Toyota Grand Prix roars into Long Beach this weekend with an international field of competitors tackling the eight-turn, 1.59-mile street circuit.

The action begins Friday at 7 a.m. with practice and qualifying runs and continues Saturday with the Toyota Pro Celebrity Race at 2:15 p.m. Participants include Cameron Diaz, James Belushi, Queen Latifah, Greg LeMond and others. The Kool/Toyota Atlantic Championship Race begins at 4 p.m.

Sunday, the Texaco-Havoline Challenge for the PPG-Dayton Indy Lights Championship starts at 10:30 a.m., followed by race No. 3 of the 1998 FedEx Championship Series at 1:30 p.m. and the NTB Trans-Am Race at 4:15 p.m. The Automobile Club of Southern California hosts a Lifestyle Auto Expo in the Convention Center all weekend with automotive, entertainment, games, travel and computer products displays. Free to race attendees. East Shoreline Drive and Seaside Way, Long Beach. One-, two- and three-day race tickets available, with choice of reserved or unreserved seating, $30-$95. (562) 436-9953 or (800) 752-9524.

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