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Blog - EVENTS/TRAVEL

Patrons enjoy a meal at The Derby Restaurant, which is located only minutes from Santa Anita Park. (Photo courtesy of The Derby Restaurant)

In yoga class, I’m instructed to breathe deeply and to transport myself to a place of serenity. In an instant, I am snuggled in the dim light of a red leather booth, surrounded by the artwork of Fred Stone - a cloth napkin tucked under my chin, fork and knife at the ready, waiting to dive into a plate of “Mike Smith.”

The delicious surf-and-turf dish is the creation of Hall of Fame Jockey Mike Smith, a regular patron to The Derby Restaurant located minutes from Santa Anita Park. The Derby’s menu also boasts another Hall of Fame design: a bone-in New York Strip Steak with red bell peppers dubbed “The Gary Stevens.”    

The Derby Restaurant is not only an exceptional dining experience but also a walk into the history of Thoroughbred horse racing. Its storied past began almost a century ago. In the late 1930s famed jockey George Woolf partnered with Bill Peterson as owners of the restaurant. Woolf hoped to make it a gathering place for fellow riders and racing fans. 

A GREAT GATHERING PLACE FOR FANS

The -Derby -Rest.

Photo courtesy of The Derby Restaurant

As stated by The Derby, “Woolf was a legend, and The Derby was where he held court away from the track.” The popularity of the restaurant grew when Woolf received a leg up on Seabiscuit during the time his regular rider, “Red” Pollard, was sidelined by injury.

Though Woolf was fatally injured during a race at Santa Anita in 1946, his dreams for The Derby have become a reality. The current general manager of The Derby, Margaret Bristol, says, “People love to spend the day at the track and then come to the home of George Woolf.”

The current owners of The Derby, Dustin Nicolarsen and Michael Thomas, have maintained a seamless connection from the past to the present with its old-world ambiance. Its décor is accessorized with museum-quality horse racing memorabilia collected from the days of Man o’ War and Seabiscuit to racing’s recent legend Zenyatta. The works of world-renowned painter Fred Stone hang on the walls, absorbing the live, light jazz music.

FANTASTIC MEMORIBILIA LINES THE WALLS OF THE DERBY

Derby Rest Inside

Photo courtesy of The Derby Restaurant

It is no accident Zagat graded The Derby “Very Good to Excellent.” Passing through its kitchen doors is a well-thought-out menu of steaks, chops, seafood, lamb, and pasta. Meals are complimented by welcoming service.

It is a uniquely special time for The Derby when the Breeders’ Cup World Championships come to town. The atmosphere is electric, and I highly recommend adding a visit to The Derby Restaurant to your Breeders’ Cup experience.  

Bristol said, “It goes hand-in-hand, spending the day at the track and then coming to The Derby at the end of the day of racing to relax and have fun. The Breeders’ Cup is such an exciting event because it only comes around once a year.”

The Derby Restaurant is located at 233 East Huntington Drive, Arcadia, Calif. You can call for reservations 626-447-2430 or book online at:  http://www.thederbyarcadia.com/

Image Description

Bunny Hinzman

Bunny Hinzman is a journalist for International Racehorse Magazine.  
Her work has appeared in Illinois Racing News Magazine and Keeneland Magazine.  She also authors Bits N' Bunny, covering various aspects of Thoroughbred horse racing.  Bunny's article, "The Lasix Legacy", received a final nomination and Honorable Mention from Team Valor International's 2012 Stanley Bergstein Award.

Image Description

Bunny Hinzman

Bunny Hinzman is a journalist for International Racehorse Magazine.  
Her work has appeared in Illinois Racing News Magazine and Keeneland Magazine.  She also authors Bits N' Bunny, covering various aspects of Thoroughbred horse racing.  Bunny's article, "The Lasix Legacy", received a final nomination and Honorable Mention from Team Valor International's 2012 Stanley Bergstein Award.

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