03/26/2013 3:16PM

Los Alamitos withdraws offer to expand track for Thoroughbreds

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Los Alamitos withdrew an offer Tuesday to expand its racetrack to accommodate Thoroughbred racing and training beginning in 2014, citing disagreements with the California Thoroughbred Trainers over the proposed racetrack expansion and a desire to avoid a showdown with Fairplex Park on acquiring racing dates.

Brad McKinzie, a consultant with Los Alamitos, said Tuesday that track owner Ed Allred could resume discussions about an expansion, if Thoroughbred industry officials deem the Fairplex Park proposal unsatisfactory.

“Ed has said all along that we won’t be part of a beauty contest,” McKinzie said. “They should judge Fairplex Park on its merits – stabling, the racetrack, and what it will cost. If at that time, they want to talk to Los Alamitos, I’m sure Los Alamitos will have an open mind. At this time, we won’t get involved with industry infighting.”

Los Alamitos, in Cypress, Calif., and Fairplex Park, in Pomona, have submitted proposals to the industry in recent months to expand their properties to gain racing dates and host training as a replacement for Hollywood Park in Inglewood, Calif. Hollywood Park has committed to racing and training through December, but is not expected to be open in 2014. The track’s parent company has indicated a desire to develop the property for residential and commercial uses.

In the event Hollywood Park closes, Del Mar and Santa Anita are expected to request more racing dates, leaving approximately six to eight weeks of racing in early summer and in the fall for another venue.

Tuesday, McKinzie challenged safety concerns expressed earlier this month by the CTT regarding the expansion of the current five-eighths-mile track at Los Alamitos to a circumference of just less than a mile.

In a letter from the CTT to the Thoroughbred Owners of California, CTT officials said they were unhappy with the “tight turns” proposed at Los Alamitos.

“We’ve gone out of our way to make sure it’s as safe as possible,” McKinzie said.

The Los Alamitos proposal did not include plans for a turf course.

Fairplex Park has proposed an expansion of its current five-eighths-mile track to six furlongs and construction of a five-eighths-mile turf course on its infield.

CTT president Jim Cassidy reiterated Tuesday that his organization was not comfortable with the Los Alamitos track expansion.

“I’ve described the racetrack they designed as a cucumber,” he said.

“Obviously, they’re upset with our accounts, but I don’t think they were false.”