WINTER THOROUGHBRED MEET SHOWS SLIGHT GAIN IN ALL-SOURCES HANDLE
Los Alamitos ended its second Winter Thoroughbred meet Sunday with a 2.3% increase in all-sources handle over the inaugural season in 2014.
The total all-sources handle for the 12-day meet was $65,710,345 compared to $64,218,080 last year.
“We’re happy,’’ said Brad McKinzie, vice president and general manager of the Los Alamitos Racing Association. “Anytime you can get away with being up a little bit is better than being down.
“I thought the meet off to a so-so start, but once we ran the (Grade I, $300,500) Starlet (Dec. 12) things picked up and we had a huge (Grade I, $350,500, Los Alamitos) Futurity day (Dec. 19).
“I thought (racing secretary) Bob Moreno did a great job not only this meet, but all three meets this year. Being able to fill races without a turf course is very impressive to me.’’
Field size increased near the end of the season – 139 starters over the final two days - but the average of 7.137 starters per race was down slightly over the previous year.
The highlights of the 2015 Winter meet were victories by Street Fancy (above) in the Starlet and Mor Spirit in the Los Alamitos Futurity one week later.
Those significant races for 2-year-olds are holdovers from Hollywood Park, which ceased live racing in December, 2013.
When offered in Inglewood, the Starlet was known as the Hollywood Starlet (1981-2013) and the Los Alamitos Futurity as the Hollywood Futurity (1981-2006) and CashCall Futurity (2007-2013).
Trained by Phil D’Amato for Agave Racing Stable, Street Fancy, a daughter of 2007 Kentucky Derby winner Street Sense, rallied from well off the pace to score in her two-turn debut under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith.
In the Futurity, 7-10 favorite Mor Spirit ran down stablemate Toews On Ice for a 1 ¼ length victory, a record eighth in the race for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert.
Gary Stevens, another Hall of Famer, was aboard Mor Spirit, a son of Eskendereya owned by Michael Lund Petersen.
This was the first time Baffert, who won the inaugural Los Alamitos Futurity a year ago with Dortmund, had finished 1-2 in the event.
Thoroughbred racing will return to Los Alamitos in April, 2016.
The initial Spring Thoroughbred season, which will begin Thursday, April 14 and continue through Sunday, May 1, is the first of three scheduled meets in the upcoming year.
The Fall season will kick off Thursday, Sept. 8 and conclude Sunday, Sept. 25 while the Winter meet begins Thursday, Dec. 8 and wraps Sunday, Dec. 18.