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Los Alamitos to request summer dates for 2014
Los Alamitos will ask the California Horse Racing Board at its meeting next Thursday for as many as three weeks of Thoroughbred racing next summer, and also plans to expand its racetrack, a track official said Wednesday.
The plan revives a project shelved in the spring by the Orange County, Calif., track, and will include a provisionally allocated two-week Thoroughbred meeting in December 2014 which follows the fall meeting at Del Mar and precedes the start of the Santa Anita winter meeting.
Track consultant Brad McKinzie said Los Alamitos officials have held discussions with their counterparts at Santa Anita and with representatives from horsemen’s groups about conducting a meeting that would run from late June until mid-July.
The first two weeks of the meeting would replace dates allocated to Santa Anita, which is currently scheduled to race into July. The final week of the proposed meet would come after the close of the currently scheduled Santa Anita meeting and before the start of the Del Mar summer meeting.
The racing board is scheduled to discuss the 2014 racing calendar at its monthly meeting next Thursday.
The dates Los Alamitos is planning to run have been part of race meetings at Betfair Hollywood Park for more than 30 years. Hollywood Park is scheduled to close at the end of this year.
In addition to two proposed race meetings, Los Alamitos plans to expand its racetrack from its current five-eighths of a mile circumference to a mile, McKinzie said. Los Alamitos does not have plans for a turf course.
The track is expected to be able to stable up to 700 Thoroughbreds displaced by the closure of Hollywood Park.
“We have plans to build a mile racetrack and offer stalls to 700 horses,” McKinzie said. “Our hope is to have five or six weeks of Thoroughbred racing at Los Alamitos to justify it.”
Los Alamitos currently conducts a mixed meeting for Quarter Horses and lower-level Thoroughbreds.
Last March, McKinzie said the track would not seek to expand its racetrack or seek further racing dates to avoid a showdown with Barretts Racing and Sales at Fairplex Park, which had stated a desire to expand its track.
But at the racing board’s May meeting, Los Alamitos requested racing dates in December. Fairplex Park did not seek racing dates beyond its traditional meeting in September, nor did it advance plans for expansion.
The current Los Alamitos plan would make the final turn wider than in previous proposals, something the California Thoroughbred Trainers had been requesting.
The issue of offtrack stabling in the absence of Hollywood in 2014 remains unresolved and is expected to be part of lengthy discussion at Thursday’s racing board meeting unless a late resolution is reached between the California Thoroughbred Trainers and the Thoroughbred Owners of California. The two sides have disagreed on where offtrack stabling should be conducted among Fairplex Park, Los Alamitos, and San Luis Rey Downs in northern San Diego County.
Does anyone know the details on the expansion? Do the turns stay the exact way they are now, and they just extend the backstretch and far turn, merging it so that it meets the existing straightaway chute? That chute is 5/16s of a mile, so it would make sense that they extend the track on that side.Their turns are 3/16s of a mile, so they are no sharper than what you'd find on SA/Dmr/BHP's turf courses.
Here's how I would do have California racing: Santa Anita (main meet): December 26-Kentucky Derby Day (the meet would end on that Saturday, which in 2014 is May 3). Golden Gate: (spring meet) Kentucky Oaks Day (May 2 in 2014)-early July (somewhere in the vicinity of July 4). Golden Gate would take over the bulk of Hollywood Park's current spring stakes, including the Hollywood Gold Cup, Shoemaker Mile, Charles Whittingham, etc. (with the Gold Rush, spring version of the California Cup on the Saturday between the Derby and Preakness). There likely would be minimal to a minor overlap with the No. Cal fairs towards the end of the season, plus there would be an overlap of both Northern and Southern California racing on Kentucky Oaks and Kentucky Derby days. The Northern California Fairs would run as they do now, though some fairs would likely see their dates changed to reflect Golden Gate running a little later into the summer and NOT running in late August-early September. Del Mar: The Del Mar season would begin as it currently does which in 2014 would be July 16 and would conclude three days later than at present (Saturday after Labor Day, in 2014 September 6). Del Mar would get the Swaps and Affirmed from Hollywood since Del Mar does not have a "dirt" stakes race for three year olds. This would be the only extended period Northern California (until the end of the fairs) and Southern California would be running at the same time. The Affirmed on the main track would likely join the Oceanside as Del Mar's opening day feature with the Affirmed and Swaps used as the main west coast preps for the Travers at Saratoga or for three year olds planning to face their elders at Del Mar in the Pacific Classic. The opening program at Del Mar would be 12 races with the normal start time of 2:00 PM Pacific. Saturday and Sunday of opening weekend would be 11 races each day before settling into the regular format for racing at Del Mar. The closing Saturday program would also be 12 races with first post at 1:00 PM local time. Three days would be added to Del Mar's regular racing season. Fairplex Park: Meet would begin the day after Del Mar ends their season (in 2014, Sunday, Sept. 7) with 14 days of racing that would include three Mondays, including a closing Monday program on Sept 22. Santa Anita (Autumn meet): Meet in 2014 would start where it has been in recent years in late September (Friday, Sept. 26 for '14) and would run through Breeders' Cup Saturday, which would be November 1 in 2014 and closing day. Golden Gate: (Autumn meet): This meet in 2014 would start on Breeders' Cup Friday (October 31) and conclude Saturday, December 20. Most of Hollywood's Fall Stakes would be transferred to Golden Gate, including the Hollywood Turf Cup, Hollywood Starlet and Cash Call Futurity. The exceptions would be the Autumn Turf Festival stakes. As with the Derby weekend, Breeders Cup weekend would overlap with Santa Anita, and there would be one other overlap in the fall with Southern California: Del Mar (Thanksgiving Meet): This would be just a four-day meet on Thanksgiving weekend that would run all of Hollywood Park's Autumn Turf Festival Stakes, including the Matriarch, Hollywood Derby, Citation and Generous. It would give horsemen not wishing to ship north for Golden Gate's meeting there one chance to race before Santa Anita in the fall. Because of the shortness of daylight at this time of year, lights would likely be needed for this meet, which also would allow Del Mar to make a serious bid to land the Breeders' Cup. This to me is what needs to be done with California Racing now that Hollywood Park is closing. There is a VERY bumpy road ahead, especially with horse shortages coming. The best thing would be a return to how it used to be in California, when for most of the year you had Northern or Southern California racing, but NOT both.
Los Alamitos niche may be writing creative races. The stabling demand will follow (horses will naturally gravitate there) if you have the right races. Along with boosting the year around to $7,500 (above 5K level). Think about a claiming series; low level handicaps; low level starter allowances; novel ideas with age based handicaps (2 lbs per year over 6 up to 10 yr); marathons; CA bred claiming; etc.
Why bother, Baffert, Sadler, and O'neil will all eventually have to move east for the money. At that point what is left?
Good for dirt racing, bad for turf racing. At least we will have another dirt track to bet in CA. But turf racing will take another hit. The only turf racing worth betting in CA is SA. Del Mar's turf course is a bull ring as evidenced by all the fouls & DQs that occur there. Is tough to bet it
For turf racing sake add a turf course Los Al! Santa Rosa has done it, Why not you? Allred has boo-koo bucks. Historically, the big 3 So. Cal tracks have important turf racing that makes an impact on the Breeder's Cup. It would be a shame if turf racing in So. Cal would be relegated to only two tracks now with the impending closure of Hollywood Park. California would lose it grip on producing turf horses for the Breeder's Turf events. I'm all for the expansion of the Los Al infrastructure, but keep the turf running experience alive here in So. Cal.
sounds like good news to me. No way was Santa Anita going to be able to fill fields unless a full size racetrack and training facility was built. The top trainers will take their second string and maybe first string out of state......oaklawn and gulfstream in the winter. No one is going to take decent horses to a 5/8 mile track at fairplex to train. This is a no brainer., the only solution..
I don't mind trying this out... As long as I can beat these races I don't care about the facility .. 99% of the time I'm playing from home or the casino... If Los al can fill a void for a few weeks.. I don't see the harm other than the lack of a turf course. Pus it's dirt racing which I much prefer over poly crap
Los Alamitos is a dump. If given dates it will be crumby fields and low betting pools. Brad McKinzie is a do nothing bozo that if not for Allred no one would hire him.
Hollywood was a dump. Five and six horse fields. All the good horses that raced at Santa Anita were resting waiting for Del Mar. Good riddance. The biggest plus is no more vic stauffer.