If you’re looking for something new to do with your family that doesn’t break the bank and also gives you the exciting inkling that you are mingling backstage somewhere special, behind the action, maybe even where you aren’t entirely allowed, then breakfast at Clocker’s Corner at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, is worth checking out this holiday season.
Built in 1934, location for the filming of Seabiscut and home to many world-famous horses, jockeys and trainers alike, Santa Anita Park is a seemingly exclusive and magical place that is, in fact, open to anyone and everyone for– you’ll never believe it– no charge! You simply drive in any morning during racing season (which started this past Sunday), and inform the guard that you intend to eat at Clocker’s Corner, a casual breakfast joint where trainers, owners, racing fans and locals grab a cup of coffee or even a full meal, and sit outside to observe hundreds of horses run their daily workouts. Though breakfast is good and unbelievably inexpensive (oatmeal for $2 and omelets and scrambles for no more than $5 or $6), one could easily enjoy this outing immensely without spending a penny more than the gas it takes to get there.
There’s something entrancing about this spot, especially in the morning winter sun on a clear blue day with the pinkish-brown San Gabriels as a backdrop and the energy of the horses as they gallop full speed no more than 15 or 20 feet away. It’s also intriguing to listen in to the conversations of the trainers, jockeys and the racing buffs as they banter about everything from how the horses are running that morning to something funny that one of their kids did the night before. With the chance to explore the behind the scenes life of one of the San Gabriel Valley’s well known landmarks, the surprisingly cheap breakfast fare and the 180-degree mountain view, I would recommend Clocker’s Corner over Denny’s any day.
Santa Anita Race Track
285 W. Huntington Dr., Arcadia
Breakfast served between 7:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m.