12/13/2007 12:00AM

Fairplex proposes expansion

EmailINGLEWOOD, Calif. - Fairplex Park officials have proposed an expansion of their facility on the Los Angeles County Fair Grounds in Pomona to accommodate as many as 2,200 horses for year-round Thoroughbred training, according to Fairplex chief executive officer Jim Henwood.

Plans for the $40 million improvement project were presented to California's racing executives Monday. Construction could begin as early as next fall, if financing can be acquired, Henwood said.

Henwood said the project would expand Fairplex Park's track from a five-eighths-mile oval to a mile. The project also would include the construction of an infield turf course and improvements to the barn area. Currently, Fairplex has stabling for 1,300 horses.

Construction of a turf course would take place in time for the 2010 county fair meeting.

"We're kind of looking at it in a way that Fairplex Park could morph itself into a training center," Henwood said.

Henwood said the project would need to be financed by the racing industry, possibly through a portion of takeout. He said he has the preliminary support of the Los Angeles County Fair board of directors to proceed with the plan.

"I think the industry will come forward with a financing solution," Henwood said. "My hope is that we can get that accomplished."

An expansion of training at Fairplex Park could provide racing with a solution to year-round stabling if Hollywood Park closes. Hollywood Park officials have committed to racing through 2008. The track holds year-round training for approximately 1,900 horses.

In the event that Hollywood Park closes, Santa Anita is expected to request more racing dates. Racing dates previously held at Hollywood could go to Los Alamitos if that track proceeds with a proposed $40 million expansion. The Los Alamitos backstretch plan would accommodate fewer Thoroughbreds than are currently based at Hollywood Park.

In the past, Fairplex Park officials have discussed an expansion program that would include longer meetings than the 16 days the track currently races. Henwood said that Fairplex Park would consider asking for more dates if the training expansion is completed.

Valenzuela to appeal five-day ban

Jockey Patrick Valenzuela intends to appeal a five-day suspension given to him Thursday by Hollywood Park stewards for his role in a disqualification in Wednesday's sixth race, according to his agent, Tom Knust.

Valenzuela was cited for his ride aboard Black Mallou, the winner of a starter allowance at six furlongs. Black Mallou drifted to his inside in the stretch, forcing Tommys Luck and Rasgado to take up. Black Mallou was placed sixth, behind Rasgado.

The suspension is scheduled for the final two days of this meeting - Dec. 21-22 - and the first three days of the Santa Anita winter-spring meeting - Dec. 26, 28, and 29. Earlier this month, Valenzuela said he was eager for the start of the Santa Anita winter meeting, where he hopes to contend for leading rider.

Knust said Valenzuela requested a stay from the California Horse Racing Board on Thursday. If that is denied, Valenzuela will to go to Superior Court to seek a temporary restraining order against the board to allow him to continue riding until an appeal is heard.

Knust noted that Black Mallou made a similar move when he beat maiden claimers at Del Mar during the summer. "The horse has a habit of doing it, and we don't think it's a fair ruling," Knust said.

Dahlia Handicap field likely to shrink

The $150,000 Dahlia Handicap for fillies and mares on turf Sunday has drawn 12 entrants, but the race is likely to have fewer starters.

Nashoba's Key, fourth in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf, is the 123-pound topweight, but may skip the race in favor of the $150,000 San Gorgonio Handicap at Santa Anita on Jan. 6.

Trained by Carla Gaines, Nashoba's Key has won 7 of 8 starts. The stable also has entered Foxysox, a four-time stakes winner who has not started since finishing seventh in the Grade 2 Santa Ana Handicap last March.

Citronnade, winner of four stakes earlier this year, may skip the race in favor of the San Gorgonio, which she won in 2006, trainer Bobby Frankel said.

Hucking Hot, who won the Audrey Skirball-Kenis Stakes last month, has been entered, but could pass in favor of the $250,000 La Brea Stakes at seven furlongs on Dec. 29.

The field also includes Black Mamba and Meribel, who were second and third in the Las Palmas Handicap at Santa Anita on Nov. 4.

Single ticket pick-six winners

For the third consecutive racing day, the pick six was hit at Hollywood Park on Wednesday by a single ticketholder. Each ticket was purchased through a different offtrack betting system, according to track officials.

Saturday's lone ticket, worth $205,947, was purchased through a betting hub in Lewiston, Maine. Sunday's ticket was worth $169,807 and was purchased at Sam Houston Race Park in Texas.

On Wednesday, the single ticket worth $98,356 was bought at Nassau Off-Track Betting in New York.