12/28/2011 2:08PM

Los Alamitos set to open 2011-12 meeting


The winter break at Los Alamitos – all 12 days of it – ends Friday when the track begins its 2011-12 meeting.

Year-round Quarter Horse racing has been a fixture at Los Alamitos since 2000, and the forthcoming year has a calendar similar to last year, with racing on a Friday-through-Sunday basis through Dec. 17, 2012.

A few things will be different. There will be a new list of leading horses for some divisions. Good Reason SA, winner of the Champion of Champions on Dec. 10, the nation’s leading race for older horses, is off to stud in Oklahoma, leaving a void in the older male division.

Jess You and I, who won the Los Alamitos Championship in October but was fourth in the Champion of Champions, is expected to race in 2012, with the Los Alamitos Winter Championship on Feb. 29 his first major goal.

The forthcoming season features four seven-figure races, the same as last year. There are two futurities with estimated purses of $1 million – the Ed Burke Million Futurity on June 24 and the Golden State Million on Nov. 4. The $2 million Los Alamitos Two Million is Dec. 16, a day after the $750,000 Champion of Champions for older horses. There is one seven-figure derby in the $1 million Los Alamitos Super Derby on Nov. 3.

Friday’s 10-race program, which begins at 7 p.m. Pacific, does not feature a stakes. The main race is an allowance race over 330 yards for 2-year-olds. Mr Tr Dasher will be well supported in a field of seven.

Trained by Juan Aleman, Mr Tr Dasher was seventh in the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association Futurity at Los Alamitos in October and a troubled third in a 300-yard allowance race Nov. 25.

It is possible that Mr Tr Dasher and a few of the other runners from Friday’s race could return for the Los Alamitos Winter Derby trials on Jan. 28. The $200,000 Winter Derby final over 400 yards will be run Feb. 18.

The first major race of the new season is the $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap for fillies and mares on Jan. 8, and the first stakes is the $20,000 Holiday Handicap for 3-year-olds on Sunday.

The new meeting begins after slight growth in handle last year. During the previous meeting, the all-sources average handle was $1,399,344, an increase of 3.6 percent from the 2010 meeting.