The Breeders’ Cup was even better than I imagined it would be. The races were exciting, the horses were magnificent, Santa Anita was a wonderful venue, the food was delicious and the weather was perfect. Attending a big event is always a bit surreal to me while in the midst of it, but it was at the end of the Breeders’ Cup that my favorite moments occurred.
When we walked out after the last race with tired feet and no tickets to cash from the big race, we approached the tram pick up area and were told that the trams were broken. WHAT?! The parking lot at Santa Anita is huge—acres and acres of parking. It goes on forever, and we parked at the outer edges since we arrived a few races into the day. With no other choice than to start walking, we headed across the humongous parking lot to the back side of the track where our car was parked. As we came around to the back of the track, I spotted an opening in the shrubbery and walked us a bit out of our way toward the opening to get a glimpse of this famous track from the backside. The perspective facing the grandstands from the back side of a horse track has very quickly become one of my favorite sights. As I walked up to the gate, a track official walked out and asked me if we would like to go out to the track and take some pictures of the starting gate. YES!
By this time the sun was beginning to set and beautifully lighting the San Gabriel mountains in the background. The starting gate, still donning its Breeders’ Cup signage, was parked right in front of us on the track. We were out there all alone to soak up one last bit of this terrific event in the quiet away from the crowds and from the best of vantage points.
We snapped some photos and I tried to commit this little piece of the weekend to permanent memory as my favorite moment from the Breeders’ Cup. As we exited through the gate where we had been allowed to enter, the official tossed me a brand new Breeders’ Cup hat from the dash of his truck with a smile and wished us well. I felt like the little kid at the end of the Mean Joe Greene Coke commercial.