It was quite a shock to me to find out I could no longer have access to the backside barns at Santa Anita after my youth. Since my great-uncle had been a trainer, I'd always been able to go to see his horses (along with an adult). But, by 2005, access to the barns was denied for "non-horse personnel". I did make a few friends on a couple of forums and one 18 year old girl WAS able to pretty much come and go, but I was always stopped and questioned and denied access. Hmmmm.... So, I was THRILLED when one time another gal, who was a horse owner, invited me to meet her at Santa Anita at 4:30 one morning to watch the morning workouts and then go visit her horse back in the barn area.
You can also access the barns through the Seabiscuit tour, which I took twice, once with my husband and another time with another friend.
Some thoroughbreds enjoy the company of other animals. I remember my great-uncle used to have a goat or two to accompany his horses. This horse's buddy was a mini-horse! Aren't they cute? A companion animal will frequently help to calm the thoroughbred. I was also amazed by the number of chickens still on the backside! They were everywhere! I also saw one of the "pony horses". He seemed quite content.
The barns, themselves, however, as you can see, are VERY OLD! These were built, I believe, in the 1930's and the electrical wiring situation today is horrible. Magna Entertainment should put some money into the barn area before a major disaster occurs.