FIRST SUMMER THOROUGHBRED FESTIVAL A SUCCESS
CYPRESS, Calif. – Los Alamitos wrapped a successful first Summer Thoroughbred Festival Sunday, averaging more than $5 million ($5,070,966) daily in total combined mutuel handle.
“It was a great first step for Los Alamitos,’’ said Brad McKinzie, vice president and general manager of the Los Alamitos Racing Association. “We put on a good show and that was our main goal. We could always use more horses, but everybody could use more horses. We’re happy.’’
The first thoroughbred meet at the venue since the final Orange County Fair season in 1991 was highlighted by the victory of Shared Belief, the undefeated champion 2-year-old of 2013, in the inaugural Los Alamitos Derby July 5.
In his first appearance on dirt for Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer and a large ownership group that includes sports radio and television personality Jim Rome’s Jungle Racing LLC, Shared Belief – under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith - was dominant in the Grade II, $500,500 Derby.
In the process, he won the first leg of the $1 million Bolton Challenge. Sponsored by the Los Alamitos Racing Association and the California-based insurance brokerage firm Bolton & Company, the Challenge will award the seven-figure prize to a horse able to win the Los Alamitos Derby, the $1 million TVG Pacific Classic Aug. 24 at Del Mar and the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic Nov. 1 at Santa Anita.
Hollendorfer and Smith also combined to win the eight-day meet’s other graded race, capturing the $200,500 Great Lady M. Stakes July 12 with the California-bred Doinghardtimeagain.
Thoroughbred racing will return to Los Alamitos in September. The California Horse Racing Board voted unanimously in June to transfer the dates formerly run at Fairplex Park in Pomona to Los Alamitos.
The 11-day season will commence Friday, Sept. 5 and continue through Sunday, Sept. 21. Apart from opening weekend, racing will be conducted on a Thursday-Sunday basis.
DRAYDEN VAN DYKE IS LEADING JOCKEY, PETER MILLER TOPS TRAINER STANDINGS
Apprentice jockey Drayden VanDyke wrapped up the riding title at the inaugural Summer Thoroughbred Festival with a pair of victories Sunday at Los Alamitos.
The Kentucky-born and Arkansas-raised VanDyke, who will turn 20 in September, finished with 12 victories, four more than runner-up Joe Talamo.
It was the first riding title for an apprentice in Southern California since the late J.C. Gonzalez led at Fairplex Park in 1998.
“It means a lot,’’ said VanDyke, who rode only seven of the eight days of the meet, missing July 12 when he was at Arlington Park where he was aboard a winner for trainer Tom Proctor.
“It’s really cool to get the first riding title at Los Alamitos in its first thoroughbred meet (since the last Orange County Fair season in 1991). It’s pretty cool to go down in history.
“It was a long two meets tying together at Santa Anita, so it was kind of dragging along the last couple of weeks and I got a couple of suspensions, so it kind of ruined my momentum. I got here, a new place, new horses and it just took off.’’
Peter Miller topped the trainer standings with three wins. He is three victories shy of 500 for his career.