Monday, March 16, 2009
Everyone's a bit Irish on St. Paddy's Day, especially at the racetrack. It's hard to find a more superstitious crowd than the horsey set, nor one that believes more fervently in luck. With St. Patrick's Day falling on a dark day (no racing) this year, Santa Anita was all decked out on Saturday instead.
As is the annual custom, the fountains were turned bright shamrock green. Hornblower Jay Cohen donned a green jacket for the day and treated the crowd to some Irish tunes. And Santa Anita's Bobby Warren (of the Operations Department) dressed up in his traditional leprechaun outfit to assist with the much-anticipated St. Pat's Pitch -- a horseshoe throwing contest in which several lucky fans get the chance at winning one million dollars. No one threw a ringer this year.
Of course, all this was secondary entertainment to an exciting race card, including the San Felipe Stakes, won by California Derby hopeful Pioneer of the Nile. The "luck of the Irish" smiled on many in the crowd, as the 1 to 9 shot romped home for the win.