Santa Anita, facing an uphill fight, updates and upgrades

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Horse Racing

Making horse racing more attractive and accessible to Southern California sports fans has been one of Santa Anita Park's primary goals. (Associated Press / September 27, 2013)

In 2006, they named a stakes race for Logan. A few years later, one of Brackpool's horses won it.

"I saw Eddie right after that," Brackpool said. "I told him my horse won his race. He was mad about something. He said that had cost him $300, that he was on his way to the window to put $100 down on it, but was called to the winners' circle because it was his race.

"So I reached in my pocket and gave him three $100 bills.

"Then, when I'm thinking about what to name our new suite, it hit me. Who better than a 90-something who hustled me out of $300?"

Brackpool said that, after he took over, he walked the grandstand area "maybe 200, 250 times," just looking and thinking about ideas. Some were his, some came from others. Now, $15 million later, they may be just beginning.

Friday's opener was routine. Attendance was 4,537, short of last year's 5,775. No sign there of any traction with the public yet.

Julien Leparoux rode Jeff Mullins' Chips All In to victory in the feature, the $100,000 Grade III Eddie D Stakes, named for former jockey Eddie Delahoussaye.

In the last race of the day, the favorite threw jockey Rafael Bejarano in the parade to the gate and was scratched. Another horse acted up at the gate and was scratched. Then, a 65-1 shot was nipped at the wire and paid $67 to place and $30.80 to show.

Good stuff, but not as important on this day as the receipts at the noodle bar.

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