Santa Anita’s Happy Photography Day

by | 03.14.2011 | 2:18pm

Here's a low-cost racing promotion that sounds like it was inspired by “The Tipping Point,” Malcolm Gladwell's best-selling business book whose subtitle is “how little things can make a big difference.”

Indeed, Photography Day at Santa Anita Park last Friday was a “little thing,” but Chris Quinn, the track's group events coordinator, hopes it turns into something much bigger.

Knowing there may be no more beautiful or photogenic backdrop for a racetrack in America, Quinn, with the encouragement of Santa Anita vice president of marketing, Allen Gutterman, reached out through photo clubs and on-line forums, to professional and amateur photographers to spend a day at the Arcadia, Calif., track.

A total of 326 photographers signed up at a cost of $20 each and received photo credentials for the day. Only a small percentage of them had ever been to a racetrack before, according to Quinn.

The promotion included morning at clocker's corner, followed by a breakfast and question and answer session hosted by HRTV's Peter Lurie and featuring trainer Bob Baffert and jockey Joe Talamo. From there, participants took a tram tour of the backstretch, then spent time during the races at various parts of the track, including the paddock and winner's circle. Track photographer Rayetta Burr and her team assisted throughout the day.

“We got terrific positive feedback,” Quinn said of the promotion. “We posted some of their shots on the Santa Anita website (click here to see them). Quinn said he expects many of the participants to share their images in online photography forums and on their own websites and social networking pages to help show what a beautiful sport racing can be.

“There is no better place in the morning for photographers,” Quinn said. “For so many of them, it was an opportunity they didn't know was available. People had really good questions during the breakfast session, and I think it was a great experience for them.”

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