08/15/2013 3:37PM

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.