02/05/2013 3:33PM

Los Alamitos to apply for permits for expansion plans

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Los Alamitos officials will apply for permits this month with the city of Cypress, Calif., to expand the barn area and racetrack to accommodate Thoroughbred racing as early as 2014.

Track consultant Brad McKinzie said that Los Alamitos met with Cypress officials last Friday to present the track’s expansion plans.

“It was the first step,” McKinzie said. “So far, so good. We showed them a proposal of what we’ll do.”

Los Alamitos has proposed expanding its current five-eighths-mile dirt track to a circumference of just less than a mile and adding approximately 1,000 stalls on vacant land adjacent to its existing backstretch to accommodate Thoroughbred racing and training. There are no plans to add a turf course.

Los Alamitos is considered the leading option to eventually replace Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif., as a second Thoroughbred venue in the Los Angeles area.

Officials with Fairplex Park in Pomona, Calif., recently stated that they do not plan an expansion of that facility on the Los Angeles County Fairgrounds. Fairplex Park currently runs a three-week race meeting each September in conjunction with the county fair.

Hollywood Park officials told the California Horse Racing Board in January that the track will race through 2013, but did not commit to hosting Thoroughbred racing beyond December of this year. Bay Meadows Land Co., which owns Hollywood Park, has stated a desire to tear down the racetrack and use the property for commercial and residential development.

Currently, Los Alamitos hosts a nationally prominent year-round Quarter Horse meeting. If the expansion goes through, Los Alamitos is expected to request two three-week meetings in the summer and fall to replace Hollywood Park’s current dates. Santa Anita is expected to gain considerably more racing dates each spring and fall.

McKinzie said that Los Alamitos plans to conduct an economic impact study on what the expansion could mean to the local community.