Los Alamitos Race Course completed its 2012-2013 racing season with a nearly identical figure in overall daily handle from all-sources compared to last year, but the year's big story here was the approval by the California Horse Racing Board for Los Alamitos to conduct five weeks of major daytime Thoroughbred racing in 2014 and the expansion of the racetrack that will take the 5/8th oval and turn it into a one-mile dirt track.
The expansion is being done to accommodate the new daytime Thoroughbred meets. Los Alamitos will run a two-week summer meeting from Thursday, July 3 through Sunday, July 13 and a three-week winter meeting from Thursday, December 4 through Sunday, December 21. The summer session will be highlighted by a major derby to be held on opening weekend. Construction began on December 10 following unanimous approval of the project by the Cypress City Council. The new track is set to open for training on January 22. Los Alamitos Race Course will also house and serve as a training facility for Thoroughbreds from some of the top barns in the Southern California racing circuit.
The early Pick Fours continued to be the most popular wager at Los Alamitos, with an all time record figure of $160,073 bet on Sunday, February 10, 2013. The meet featured five out of the 10 highest Pick 4 pools ever and 12 of the 20 highest ever at the Cypress track. The average early Pick 4 for the year was over $110,000 per night. The meet also featured an all-time record in the late Pick 4 of $121,842 set on Sunday, February 24. Four out of the top five highest pools in the late Pick 4 were established in 2013.
Racing highlights included Jesus Avila and Jesus Cuevas’ Last To Fire winning three of the top Grade 1 races for older horses, including the Grade 1 $750,000 Champion of Champions. The meet also feature the appearance of the champion Ochoa, the sport’s all-time leader in money earned. Trained by Sleepy Gilbreath, Ochoa won the Grade 1 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship. Owned by the partnership of La Presita LLC, Jose and Gustavo De La Torre and San Gregorio Racing Stable, Foose Cash Sr won the meet’s richest race, the Grade 1 $1,989,525 Los Alamitos Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity at pdds of 25-1. San Gregorio also race Five Bar Cartel, which was the only horse to race in the Ed Burke Million Futurity, Golden State Million Futurity and Two Million Futurity. Five Bar Cartel won the Ed Burke Million.
Ed Allred won another Quarter Horse owner title after picking up 55 wins from 310 starters for a 17.7% win ratio in 2013. The AQHA Hall of Fame Owner and Breeder campaigned Spencer L. Childers California Breeders Championship Handicap winner Check My Thoughts and Governor’s Cup Futurity winner Up For It. Jose and Gustavo De La Torre and Felix Gonzalez finished in a tie for second with 23 wins each. Paul Jones was the meet’s leading Quarter Horse trainer for the 15th time in the last 16 years after saddling 116 winners. Jones had three horses that qualified to the Champion of Champions in Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Championship winner Rylees Boy, Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap winner Check N Fetch and PCQHRA Breeders Derby winner Significant Heart. He also saddled La Primera Del Ano Derby winner Revv Me Up, Governor’s Cup Derby winner Scoop Of Sunshine and Southern California Derby winner Jabuti Eagle SA. Jose De La Torre was second with 81 wins followed by Jose Flores with 67 victories. Cruz Mendez piloted 138 Quarter Horse winners to finish as the meet’s leading rider for the second straight year. Mendez’s top wins included the Kindergarten Futurity and El Primero Del Ano Derby. Eduardo Nicasio finished second with 85 wins while Gregorio Arriaga, who suffered a season ending injury in a riding accident in early October, finished third in the standings with 79 victories.
Los Alamitos’ all-time leading Thoroughbred jockey Ramon Guce won 102 races aboard Thoroughbreds to claim his eighth local riding title. This is the third time in his career that he has finished with over 100 Thoroughbred victories in a single season. Guce is the only local rider who has gone over the century mark aboard the breed here. Alex Jimenez finished second with 61 victories. Charles Treece earned his 15th Thoroughbred training title with 78 victories at Los Alamitos. Treece was followed by Keith Craigmyle with 57 wins and Jim Hanson with 43 wins. Mike Flory won 18 races to finish as the meet’s leading Thoroughbred owner for the third year in a row. The partnership of Keith Craigmyle and Jerry Gross finished second with 16 Thoroughbred victories.
Los Alamitos ended its 63rd racing season with an average single night handle figure of $1,272,308, a figure that includes combined wagering on both the live races and night import races. The total average single night handle was up 0.3% from 2012. The total handle for all sources during the 2013 meeting was $195,663,132 for the 154-night meet. The average single night attendance on-track decreased by 5.6%. More statistical information will be made available later this week.
The upcoming Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred season at Los Alamitos gets underway on Friday, December 27 with an 8-race program headed by track record holder Chivalry SR taking on graded stakes winner Sparky E Boy. The Los Alamitos night 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.