01/31/2013 8:43PM

Los Alamitos officials to meet with municipal leaders on expansion proposal

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Los Alamitos officials plan to meet with the city of Cypress, Calif., in coming days to present a design and expansion proposal for the Orange County racetrack, which could be remodeled to accommodate Thoroughbred racing as early as 2014, according to a track consultant.

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.

“We’re moving forward with a feasibility study with the city,” Los Alamitos consultant Brad McKinzie said Thursday.

Los Alamitos Race Course is based in Cypress, Calif. The city of Los Alamitos is directly south of the racetrack.

In recent months, Los Alamitos executives have met with Thoroughbred horsemen and officials with other tracks to discuss expansion plans. Los Alamitos is considered the leading option to eventually replace Betfair Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif., as a second Thoroughbred venue in the Los Angeles area.

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. 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, one in early summer and one in the fall, to replace Hollywood Park’s current dates. Santa Anita is expected to gain considerably more racing dates each spring and fall.

Los Alamitos would need approximately 12 months to construct new stables, but could have the expansion of its racetrack completed by the end of 2013, McKinzie said.

Los Alamitos is privately owned by Dr. Ed Allred, a prominent Quarter Horse owner and breeder.

Aside from discussions with the city, McKinzie said the expansion is contingent “If Los Alamitos receives industry support.”

“Things seem to be moving forward,” McKinzie said. “Ed and various Thoroughbred factions have had some meetings, and Ed seems to be moving forward.”