SUMMER THOROUGHBRED FESTIVAL SHOWS 12.7% INCREASE IN ALL SOURCES HANDLE
Los Alamitos ended a successful Summer Thoroughbred Festival Sunday with a substantial gain – 12.7% - in all sources mutuel handle over the inaugural season in 2014.
Swipe wins the Summer Juvenile Championship
The cumulative handle for the eight-day meet in 2015 was $53,778,877 and $47,723,634 a year earlier.
The total handle on the live races at Los Alamitos rose 15.7% - $34,233,183 compared to $29,557,212 in 2014.
“It was a successful meet any way you want to cut it,’’ said Brad McKinzie, vice president and general manager of the Los Alamitos Racing Association. “The main thing is we put on a better show and that’s what we can build on. Horsemen showed they now have confidence in this racetrack and they will run any kind of horse here. We filled better races this year. Putting out a better product is what led to us being up 12.7%.’’
Average field size also increased, improving from 6.99 starters per race in 2014 to 7.49 this year.
The highlight of the Summer Festival were a pair of Grade II races – the $350,000 Los Alamitos Derby July 4 and $200,000 Great Lady M Stakes July 11 – and both were won by trainer Bob Baffert.
A very successful quarter horse conditioner at Los Alamitos before he switched to thoroughbreds some 25 years ago, the Hall of Famer won the Derby with Gimme Da Lute before Fantastic Style dominated in the Great Lady M. Stakes.
Winning the Derby certainly had special meaning for Baffert.
“I’m glad to be back here where it all started and winning this race means a lot to me,’’ he said after Gimme Da Lute’s nose decision over Prospect Park.
Thoroughbred racing will return to Los Alamitos in September. The Fall season will begin Thursday, Sept. 10 and continue through Friday, Sept. 25.