Los Alamitos Race Course finished the 2011-2012 racing season in terrific fashion thanks to a fantastic series of stakes races in the month of December plus a successful daytime racing experiment during the meet’s closing weekend on December 21-23.
With Hollywood Park wrapping up its meeting on Sunday, December 16 and Santa Anita’s opening day set for its traditional date of December 26, Los Alamitos moved its first post time to 2 p.m. for closing weekend. Track management was pleased with the weekend, as the afternoon on-track attendance for Saturday, December 22 was up 43 percent from a typical Saturday evening card, while the afternoon on-track attendance for Sunday, December 23 nearly doubled from a typical Sunday evening card. Handle from all-sources on both Saturday and Sunday also increased by approximately $200,000 each day.
Los Alamitos Race Course enjoyed wall to wall coverage of its weekend racing on TVG, as the racing network was on-track all day long broadcasting from multiple locations throughout the day during the meet’s three afternoon cards.
“It was a superb experiment,” said Ed Allred, the owner of Los Alamitos Race Course. “It started out a little slow on Friday, but by the end of the weekend our figures were amazingly strong. It was a good way to end year on a highly successful note. I am also very thankful for the great support that we received from our wonderful partners at Betfair TVG and for spearheading this idea. I am very appreciative for all the great things that TVG does for Los Alamitos all year long.”
The early Pick Fours continues to be the most popular wager at Los Alamitos, with an all time record figure of $155,780 bet on Sunday, February 12, 2012. The meet featured the three highest Pick 4 pools ever and eight of the nine highest ever at the Cypress track. The late Pick 4 keeps growing in popularity as six out of the 10 highest pools of all-time were set in 2012, including the second highest pool ever of $115,398 on Saturday, December 15 at the Orange County oval.
Racing highlights included Balgo Racing and Marlyn Gonzalez’s Matabari winning the meet’s richest race – the Grade 1 $2,108,750 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity – after a great final duel with Bobby Cox’s The August Heat on December 16 and Lorena Velazquez Rodriguez’s Rylees Boy becoming the oldest Quarter Horse ever to win the Grade 1 $750,000 Champion of Champions after winning the 440-yard classic at the age of 7-years-old on December 15. The meet also featured San Gregorio Racing Stables and Gustavo and Jose De La Torre’s One Dashing Eagle (top), who enjoyed a great 2-year-old season as he became the first Quarter Horse to ever win three races featuring million dollar purses while also setting a single season Quarter Horse record in earnings of $2,079,065. One Dashing Eagle won the $1,041,000 Ed Burke Million Futurity and $1,118,000 Golden State Million Futurity. One Dashing Eagle also won the All American Futurity at Ruidoso Downs in New Mexico.
Ed Allred won another Quarter Horse owner title after picking up 47 wins from his 272 starters for a win ratio of 17%. His top horses included multiple Grade 1 winner Check My Thoughts and multiple stakes winner Kool Million. Felix Gonzalez and Martha Wells tied for second in the owner standings with 20 wins each. Paul Jones finished as the meet’s leading Quarter Horse trainer for the 14th time in the last 15 years after saddling 113 winners. Jones won his sixth Champion of Champions this season and also saddled the winners of the PCQHRA Breeders Futurity with Stel My Corona and Los Alamitos Winter Derby with Kobe. Jose Flores, who trains the likes of Grade 1 winners Matabari and Chivalry SR, finished second with 76 wins followed by Jose A. Moreno with 67 wins. Cruz Mendez piloted 170 Quarter Horse winners to finish as the meet’s leading rider. Mendez won the Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity – and also enjoyed victories in the Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Championship with Chivalry SR and Los Alamitos Winter Championship with El Aguila Real. Ramon Sanchez finished second with 89 wins and Rodrigo Aceves came in third with 80 wins.
Cheryl Charlton finished the meet with 99 Thoroughbred wins to earn her first riding title aboard the breed at Los Alamitos. Charlton is the first female rider to be the leading Thoroughbred jockey at any meet in Southern California. Cheryl also enjoyed her first victory ever aboard a Quarter Horse earlier this season. Los Alamitos’ all-time leading Thoroughbred jockey Ramon Guce finished the season with a flurry to finish second with 78 wins, while Eulices Gomez finished third with 35 wins. Charles Treece earned his 14th Thoroughbred training title with 71 victories with Keith Craigmyle with 57 wins and Jim Hanson with 53 wins. Mike Flory won 26 races to finish as the meet’s leading Thoroughbred owner for the second straight year while sporting a win ratio of 30%. Stanley Watkins finished second in the Thoroughbred owner standings with 14 wins from only 27 starters for an outstanding win ratio of 52%.
Los Alamitos ended its 62nd racing season with an average single night handle figure of $1,265,655, a figure that includes combined wagering on both the live races and night import races. The total average single night handle was down 9.6% from 2011. Handle from mini-satellites in California did enjoy an increase of 21% from 2011.
Account wagering on the Los Alamitos Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred races at sites like TVG.com and Twin Spires.com increased by 13.1% to an average single night figure of $408,519. Since 2009, account wagering has increased an average of $100,000 per night for an increase during that span of 24%. The total handle for all sources during the 2012 meeting was $193,645,318 for the 153-night meet. The average single night attendance on-track decreased by 2.9%.
The upcoming season at Los Alamitos gets underway on Friday, December 28. The Los Alamitos meeting will continue to offer the nation's richest Quarter Horse stakes program in addition to hosting Thoroughbred racing with outstanding purses in the $2,500 to $5,000 claiming divisions. For more info, please contact 714-820-2690.