Thousands of participants turned out for the annual Derby Day 5K Run and Walk, which began on Saturday morning in the parking lot of the Santa Anita Race Track and moved out onto the quiet streets of Arcadia.
Pete Siberell, an executive with the track, said the 5K coincides with a huge event on the turf.
“This is the running of the Santa Anita Derby,” Siberell said. “So, we wanted to make a big day even bigger and bring in the running crowd early in the morning.”
He said the 5K race is an opportunity to introduce new people to the sport of horse racing.
“The idea behind the whole race was to get people into the race track,” Siberell said. “After mile three they finish on the training track inside Santa Anita. Hopefully, they have a good time afterward and stay for a couple races and see Santa Anita in its full glory.”
Siberell said around 5,500 participants were expected, making it the largest in the event’s 20-year history.
The 5K is also a fundraiser, with approximately $10,000 being raised for the Arcadia Historical Museum, Arcadia High School and Carma, an organization devoted to helping care for horses in retirement, Siberell said.
The 5K starts in the track parking lot, crosses Baldwin Avenue into Los Angeles County Arboretum, where it makes a loop, exits the park and heads east onto Colorado Boulevard and then into the back entrance of the track for a total of 3.1 miles, Siberell said.
Siberell said the 5K is just a fun event to host.
“It’s great,” he said. “There are people who have been doing this for 20 years. There are a lot of new people. I’ve seen some people from when they were real young doing this race. And they’re doing it with their kids now. It’s a great community event.”
(Shel Segal can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. He can be followed via Twitter @segallanded.)
-Story by Shel Segal