New horse racing schedule reduces Los Alamitos meet

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Last Thursday’s California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) meeting saw the approval of a much different racing calendar for Southern California in 2020.

Added dates for Santa Anita, an additional weekend of racing next summer at Del Mar, and two 13-day breaks between meets are part of the schedule for next year.

The proposed dates changes were the result of an informal meeting, including representatives from Del Mar, Santa Anita, and the Thoroughbred Owners of California (TOC) prior to last Thursday’s CHRB meeting. Officials from Los Alamitos, the California Thoroughbred Trainers (CTT), and the labor union that includes the mutual tellers were not included in the informal meeting. Those officials asked for a postponement of the date allotments until the September CHRB meeting but that request was denied.

The new schedule reduces the number of racing weeks at Los Alamitos from eight weeks to four. The proposal assigns Los Alamitos two weeks at the end of the Santa Anita winter/spring meeting (June 26 to July 5) and in December after the Del Mar fall meeting (Dec 3 to Dec 13).

Dr. Ed Allred, the Chairman and owner of Los Alamitos, was not happy with the new proposed schedule or that Los Alamitos was not part of the decision process.

“I have so many problems with what is proposed,” said Allred at the CHRB meeting. “Seven years ago we were approached about putting in a mile track, which we did in record time. We spent millions of dollars on it.

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“We put in about 800 stalls to house thoroughbreds. Bob Baffert, as of (August 21), has 93 two-year-olds stabled at Los Alamitos. Probably the most expensive horses around. There have been two Kentucky Derby winners, two horses of the year that ran at Los Alamitos during the race meets.”

One factor the committee may have not considered is how the proposed gaps in live daytime racing will impact the night Los Alamitos racing signal.

“We can’t make it under this new schedule,” said Allred. “There are many issues the night racing associations have. We cannot conduct racing when there is no daytime thoroughbred racing going on. The satellites don’t want to stay open for us at night.”

Dr. Allred’s point are valid. One of the items not discussed was the agreement to assign eight weeks of racing to Los Alamitos when the track invested in expending their racing surface to a one mile circumference. At the time Los Alamitos only had the three-week Los Angeles County Fair meet in September.

Approval for the Los Alamitos racing schedule was delayed until the CHRB meeting next month.

Santa Anita will again open December 26 for its winter/spring meeting and will race thru the middle of June (closing day is scheduled for June 21). New to the winter/spring meet will be 12 “flex dates.” The 12 flex dates will be used as cancellation dates during the winter meet with approval of the CHRB. Weather and available horse population will be the key determining factors as to when the flex dates will be put to use.

The Santa Anita autumn meet will have an earlier start date — Friday September 11. The autumn meet will run through October 25. Santa Anita will race three days a week in September and four days a week in October.

There will be a 13-day gap from the end of the Los Alamitos summer meet until Del Mar opens on Saturday July 18, giving the track eight weekends during the summer instead of seven. The plan is to race five days a week except for one four-day week at the end of August. The summer meet will end on Labor Day as usual.

The Del Mar fall meeting will start on October 31 and run through November 29, with three-day race weeks, which is a change from the four-day weeks scheduled this fall.

The second 13-day gap in racing will occur after the Los Alamitos winter meet ends December 13 and opening day of the 2020-2021 Santa Anita winter/spring meet on December 26.

Lindo Report Play for Gaming Today: Del Mar Thursday Race 7 — D’s Lovely Sophia (No. 2). After drifting out badly in deep stretch in her debut win at Los Alamitos in June, this Hector Palma trainee ran straight as an arrow at Del Mar August 7 easily defeating starter Allowance competition to remain undefeated.

She is ready to take the next step up the ladder and is a potential “single” in your rolling wagers.

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About the Author

Jon Lindo

Jon Lindo is a syndicated handicapper, long-time thoroughbred owner, and publisher of the Lindo Report. Jon is also a regular contributor to Race Day Las Vegas Radio show on KSHP 1400 in Las Vegas and Thoroughbred Los Angeles Radio show, heard in Las Vegas at thoroughbredla.com.

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