Friday, September 14, 2007

Santa Anita Racetrack

If you love Hollywood history you must love this place.

It's Seabiscuit-land! As in Seabiscuit (Full Screen)

It's where the Marx Brothers spent A Day at the Races. Think of . . .

1937'sA Star Is Born

1954's A Star Is Born

Charlie Chan At The Race Track

National Lampoon's Vacation (20th Anniversary Special Edition)

Magna Entertainment Corp. announced that it would "explore" selling Santa Anita Racetrack, along with many other properties. (The company might also issue stock, though I wouldn't buy any. Magna is up to $700 million in debt.) All this is in the L. A. Times, which speculates that developer Rick Caruso may buy part of the property.



The LA Conservancy (link at right) is concerned mostly with Caruso's efforts to build a new shopping center in the racetrack's parking lot, but they present this bit of historical trivia:

"In addition to its architectural significance, shaped by noted architect Gordon Kaufmann, and its associations with racing history, Santa Anita was the largest Assembly Center for the Japanese-American internment in World War II.

"About 20,000 Japanese-Americans lived at the racetrack during 1942, in temporary housing in the stable area and in barracks constructed on the site’s parking lot. The racetrack was determined eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places in 2006."

In fact, the picture above is from a National Parks website documenting the detention.

With that in mind, here is a picture of Santa Anita Racetrack from the USC Library Special Collections' Regional History Center, dated 1942:



From 1942 to 1944, the racetrack was "Camp Santa Anita," an army post.

Village Profile hosts an excellent, brief history of Santa Anita Racetrack.





1 comment:

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