More than 4,000 runners and walkers in the 22nd Annual Santa Anita Derby Day 5K (5,000 meters), 6 Furlong Race, and Homestretch Dash races braved the cold weather, rain and mud on April 9, 2016 as they finished on the actual race track used by thoroughbred race horses.
On a cloudy and rainy morning 3,925 runners and walkers from very young to 93 years old competed on one of the most unusual and beautiful 5K courses in Southern California, starting with running through the actual starting gate used by horses during races at Santa Anita Park, ran across the huge Santa Anita Park parking lot, past Westfield Mall, through the beautiful County of Los Angeles Arboretum past peacocks and picturesque landscape at the historic site, on Baldwin Avenue, past the horse stables where horses were waiting for later in the day to compete in the Santa Anita Derby.
They continued through a long tunnel under both horse racing tracks, then out onto the infield with San Gabriel Mountains as a backdrop showing through the rain clouds, and then onto the actual horse racing track for a "photo finish" in front of the main grandstand with thousands of people in attendance.
After the races, competitors got a large custom medal, listened to music from a band, visited several booths with some having games to win prizes from LA Galaxy and Jack FM 93.1 radio station who had a few Long Beach Grand Prix tickets for the upcoming car race. Race sponsors like Run with Us from Pasadena gave out free advice about running shoes and accessories to help the serious and casual runners and walkers. Saucony shoes displayed dozens of its shoes in many various colors and styles. Nestle gave chocolate milk free for the all the competitors along with its mascot taking pictures with the people. Methodist Hospital of Southern California gave out information about health programs, and Aldi food market had information about its new Arcadia store, along with other companies from San Gabriel Valley.
Santa Anita Derby Day 5K major sponsors were Santa Anita Park "The Great Race Place," Methodist Hospital of Southern California, Westfield Santa Anita mall, Run with Us, Saucony, Aldi, Jack FM 93.1, Smarty Pants, Gold's Gym, Yoobi, Doubletree Hotel, and Santa Anita Yoga. The event is operated by Kathy Kinane of Kinane Events. The web site www.kinaneevents.com has information of other major people races.
One of the race's sponsors, Run with Us, enjoyed a great day as both the men's and women's 5K race winners run for the elite team for Run with Us. Jacques Sallberg of Pasadena won the men's race in 15:49 and Lenore Moreno of West Covina won the women's race in 17:11, six seconds faster than her time of 17:17 last year as she repeated as 5K champion at the track known for horse racing champions.
Among other men in the 5K race, Mark Batres of Pomona finished second in 15:58, Ruben Ramirez of Covina was third in 16:26, and Hakan Eriksson of San Antonio, Texas was the fastest runner from out of state as he finished in fifth place overall with a time of 16:49. A few other states represented from USA included Utah, Tennessee and Florida.
Among other women in the 5K race, Mary Akor of Hawthorne was second in 17:34, and Camille Rivera of La Puente was third in 18:56.
Ontoniel Quinteros won the Santa Anita Park horsemen's title with a time of 17:46.
Winner of Kid's 6-Furlong race for seven to 12 year olds was Ellie Mejia in 6:16. Hobson Lau and Deagan Tran both finished in 6:23 in a photo finish with Lau earning second place and Tran getting third place. There were 72 runners in that race.
Zachary Wortham won the Homestretch Dash in 38 seconds, and was followed by Jacob Barreras in 39 seconds, and Lincoln Cabrera in 40 seconds, getting third place in a photo finish ahead of fourth place finisher Roland Barajas and fifth place finisher Kalea Canton, both also with a time of 40 seconds. There were 45 runners in that race.
Results of the 5K and the two younger age short-distance races are posted on www.derbyday5k.com.