Tuesday, December 12, 2017




There will be a Pick Six carryover of $33,841 when racing resumes Thursday, which begins the third and final week of the Winter meet at Los Alamitos.

The primary catalyst for the second carryover of the season was Holidayincambodia, who scored a 21-1 surprise in the fourth race under jockey Eduard Rojas Fernandez. Post time Thursday is 12:30 p.m. The Pick Six will begin in the fourth race, which has a scheduled post time of 1:58 p.m.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Los Alamitos Cashcall Futurity -

The running of the 2017 Starlet (Grade I)



Los Alamitos will have different post times for the final four days of the Winter Thoroughbred meet.

Post time for Thursday, Dec. 14 and Friday, Dec. 15 will be 12:30 p.m., a half-hour earlier than the first two weeks of the season.  Nine races were carded for Thursday and the same number are expected to be drawn when entries for Dec. 15 are taken Sunday.

Post time for closing weekend – Saturday, Dec. 16 and Sunday, Dec. 17 – will be 12 Noon, 30 minutes earlier than the first two weekends. The track anticipates running 10 races on both of those days.




Hall of Famer Bob Baffert became the first trainer in the history of the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity and Starlet to win both races in the same year Saturday at Los Alamitos.

McKinzie, named in honor of Brad McKinzie, Baffert’s close friend and longtime Los Alamitos executive who died Aug. 6, won the $300,000 Futurity via disqualification after Solomini, Baffert’s other entrant in the race, was cited by the stewards  for interfering with Instilled Regard in deep stretch and was moved from first and placed third.

One race later, Dream Tree, the prohibitive 2-5 favorite, remained undefeated in three starts, rolling to a 3 ¼ length victory in the $294,000 Starlet in her two-turn debut.

Baffert has won all four renewals of the Futurity run at Los Alamitos after winning the prestigious event six times at Hollywood Park, which offered the race from 1981-2013. Baffert’s previous three local winners were Dortmund (2014), Mor Spirit (2015) and Mastery (2016).

Making his first start since an impressive debut win Oct. 28, McKinzie, a son of Street Sense and the Petionville mare Runway Model, was carried wide into the first turn, was kept in the clear by Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, rallied approaching the lane in tandem with Instilled Regard while Solomini, the 17-10 second choice, was beginning to gain outside that pair.

The trio came together, and with about a sixteenth of a mile to run, Solomini came in and bumped 17-1 shot Instilled Regard before going on to finish three-quarters of a length in front of McKinzie, who wound up a head in front of Instilled Regard.

After several minutes, stewards Scott Chaney, Ron Church and Tom Ward – by a 2-1 vote – made the decision to disqualify Solomini.

Baffert was surprised by the disqualification.

“I didn’t think there was going to be a change,’’ he said. “(McKinzie) had a rough trip around the first turn and he got a little tired at the end. It’s a long stretch and he hooked up with (Instilled Regard) early.

“(Prat) rode a great race just sitting behind them. Unfortunately, (Solomini) will lay on horses in the lane and you have to be careful with him. Prat might have gotten a little over aggressive. It’s really too bad they took him down. He was the better horse today.’’

Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, McKinzie paid $3 and $2.40 while the place price on Instilled Regard was $6.80. There was no show wagering.

The final time for the Futurity was 1:42.57 and the $180,000 payday pushed McKinzie’s earnings to $210,000.

The victory was the second in a row in the Futurity for Smith and his third overall. He also won the 2003 renewal with Lion Heart.

“We got carried out in the first turn by (Runaway Ghost),’’ he said. “As far as what happened in the stretch, I just rode my race, he kept trying hard and we were blessed enough to get kissed into the win.’’

Like Baffert, Prat didn’t think there was enough contact to warrant a disqualification.

“I didn’t think he came in that bad,’’ he said. “I didn’t think there would be a change.’’

For Him, the CashCall Futurity longshot at 62-1, and Runaway Ghost completed the order of finish.

In a Starlet reduced to four starters after the scratch of War Heroine, Dream Tree was never far off the slow pace set by Yesterday’s News, took over into the stretch and cruised home under jockey Drayden Van Dyke.

 Owned by Phoenix Thoroughbred III, the 2-year-old Uncle Mo filly out of the Afleet Alex mare Afleet Maggi completed the 1 1/16 miles in 1:43.87 and has now banked $270,000. She paid $2.80 as there was only win wagering in the Starlet.

“The plan was to sit with her today,’’ said Baffert, who earned his first Starlet win at Los Alamitos after winning the race three times at Hollywood Park. “She had blinkers in her first race (Oct. 27) and she was rank and she won from a little off the pace.

“(Van Dyke) has been working her. I wasn’t sure about two turns, but after she came back and worked the way she did (after winning the Desi Arnaz Nov. 18) is why I changed my mind and decided to run her in this spot.’’

Yesterday’s News, trained by Simon Callaghan, who won the 2016 Starlet with Abel Tasman, wound up 5 ¼ lengths in front of Piedi Bianchi, who was a nose better than Exuberance.

“I was just going to play the break because in a small field it can be tricky,’’ said Van Dyke regarding his strategy to sit off the slow pace (24.67, 49.25 and 1:13.28 for six furlongs). “(Jockey) Mario (Gutierrez) decided to go, so I thought it would be perfect to sit off him. She ran right through the stretch and I didn’t even have to pull out my stick. It was just a hand ride.’’

Racing resumes Sunday at Los Alamitos. Post time is 12:30 p.m.

Friday, December 8, 2017



 Mr. Opportunist, the longest shot in the field at 23-1, battled back after being passed in deep stretch to win the $47,580 feature on a windy Thursday at Los Alamitos.

Making his first start as a gelding and first since being claimed for $40,000 Sept. 17 by trainer Craig Dollase for owner Mark Mathiesen , the 4-year-old son of Tale of the Cat was never far off the pace, gained a slim lead at the head of the stretch, was overtaken on the inside the final sixteenth by 5-2 second choice Sheer Flattery, but found renewed energy to prevail by a head.

Ridden by Edwin Maldonado, Mr. Opportunist, who had lost seven in a row since capturing the three-horse Desert Code Stakes May 7, 2016 when trained by John Sadler, completed the mile in 1:36.75 and paid $49, $12.60 and $7.

The victory was worth $27,000 for Mr. Opportunist, who is out of the Medaglia d’Oro mare Far Out Freebie, and pushed his career bankroll to $131,190.

Sheer Flattery, who had a perfect trip stalking the pace, returned $3.60 and $2.60 while finishing 2 ½ lengths in front of 3-1 third choice Image of Joplin. The show price on Image of Joplin, who was seeking his third consecutive win, was $3.20.

Completing the order of finish were Donworth, the 3-2 favorite in his initial try as a gelding, Lucky J Lane, pacesetter Got Even and Friendly Outthedor.

Jockeys Drayden Van Dyke and Geovanni Franco both doubled Thursday.

Van Dyke’s wins aboard first time starter Heck Yeah in the sixth and 10-1 shot Thirteen Squared were in tandem with Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert while Franco’s victories aboard Get Em Up Scout in the first and Devil’s Beauty in the fourth were for trainer Steve Miyadi.

Through five days of the Winter Meet, apprentice Evin Roman, who was the leading rider at the Summer Thoroughbred Festival in July and the Los Angeles County Fair meet in September, tops the standings with seven wins.

Baffert and Genaro Vallejo share the lead in the trainer’s race with four victories apiece.

There was one winning ticket in the Pick Six worth $112,340. The ticket – the cost of which wasn’t immediately available - was purchased through a satellite wagering facility in Connecticut.



 Three weeks after an easy win in her dirt debut, Majestic Heat became a graded stakes winner on the surface with another decisive victory in the $201,035 Bayakoa Sunday at Los Alamitos.

After dispatching of fellow California breds by 3 ¼ lengths going seven furlongs in the Betty Grable Nov. 12 at Del Mar, the 5-year-old Unusual Heat mare prevailed by 2 ½ lengths when stretched to 1 1/16 miles in the Grade II, which was run Sunday at Los Alamitos for the first time since 2014.

Reserved off the quick early pace set by eventual runner-up Champagne Room, Majestic Heat began to rally wide nearing the stretch under Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith, easily collared the leader  and went on to her seventh victory in 16 starts.

The 3-1 third choice in the field of eight, Majestic Heat, who is owned by Bardy Farm, Ron McCauley and co-breeder Madeline Auerbach and trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella, completed the distance in 1:42.15 and paid $8, $4.20 and $3.40. She’s earned $530,329.

Champagne Room, the 2016 2-year-old filly champion, returned $3.80 and $3.20 as the 5-2 second choice. She finished 3 ¼ lengths in front of 9-1 shot Madame Stripes, who paid $5 to show.

Completing the order of finish were Bernina Star, Pacific Wind, the 5-2 favorite, Street Surrender, Shenandoah Queen and Constellation.

An off-the-board effort in the Grade II Goldikova on turf – a surface on which she has won five of 14 – Nov. 4 at Del Mar is what inspired Mandella to try Majestic Heat on the dirt eight days later in the Grable.

“I’ve always had it in my mind to try her on dirt,’’ said Mandella. “I mentioned it to (Auerbach), but just never quite did it. I thought she didn’t run at all (in the Goldikova) and she came back the next day and looked like a horse who hadn’t run.

“I had nominated her to the (Grable), so I decided to put her in there and see what happens. We do that a lot and sometimes it doesn’t work, so we can’t brag too much.

“I thought she ran very well today. It gives us a lot of options for next year.’’

Smith, who won the 2016 Bayakoa at Del Mar with Vale Dori, was impressed after his first collaboration with Majestic Heat.

“The plan was to let her run out of there and see what everybody else did,’’ he said. “When several of them went that was good for us. She settled nicely and when I tipped her out she did everything on her own in the stretch.’’

Racing resumes Thursday at Los Alamitos. Post time is 1 p.m.




Los Alamitos Race Course has cancelled its live daytime Thoroughbred racing program scheduled for Friday, Dec. 8.

The decision to cancel the daytime racing program was made due to the tragic fire that swept through the San Luis Rey Downs training center in San Diego County. Several barns were destroyed by the fast-moving flames and an unknown number of horses did not survive.

“This is a tragic blow to the California Thoroughbred racing industry and of great sorrow to everyone,” said Jack Liebau, the vice-president of the Los Alamitos Racing Association. “We express our sympathy to the owners, trainers and caretakers of the horses victimized by this tragic event. We salute those who so bravely attempted to safeguard horses at San Luis Rey Downs in face of the swiftly approaching fire as well as those who transported horses to Del Mar under hazardous conditions and those who went to Del Mar to aid the horses moved there.”

The Los Alamitos Winter Thoroughbred meet is scheduled to resume Saturday, Dec. 9 with post time at 12:30 p.m. The nine-race card will include a pair of Grade I races for 2-year-olds – the $300,000-guaranteed Starlet for fillies and the $300,000-guaranteed Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity. The two events are run at 1 1/16 miles.

Los Alamitos and other satellite facilities will be open for daytime simulcast wagering on Friday. Los Alamitos Race Course will also remain open for its nighttime live Quarter Horse program which starts on Friday at 7 p.m. For more information, call 714-820-2690.

Saturday, December 2, 2017

Thursday, November 30, 2017



The third and final Thoroughbred meet of 2017 at Los Alamitos will begin Thursday, Nov. 30.

The 12-day Winter season follows the 12-day Los Angeles County Fair at Los Alamitos meet in September and the eight-day Summer Thoroughbred Festival in July.

Racing will be conducted on a Thursday-Sunday basis through Sunday, Dec. 17. Post time will be 1 p.m on weekdays and 12:30 p.m. on weekends.

The three-week meet will be highlighted by a pair of Grade I races for 2-year-olds – the $300,000-guaranteed Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity and the $300,000-guaranteed Starlet – Saturday, Dec. 9.

The Futurity is one of the races on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby’’ with the winner receiving 10 points towards a berth in the Kentucky Derby next May 5 at Churchill Downs.

Among the leading candidates for the Futurity is McKinzie, an impressive first out winner for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has won all three renewals of the Futurity – Dortmund (2014), Mor Spirit (2015) and Mastery (2016) -   since the race was moved to Los Alamitos from Hollywood Park.

Baffert has won the race, which was run in Inglewood from 1981-2013, a record nine times. Named in honor of Brad McKinzie, the late longtime Los Alamitos executive, McKinzie is a son of Street Sense owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman. He graduated Oct. 28 at Santa Anita.

The Starlet – which is restricted to fillies - is one of the events on the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks.’’ The winner earns 10 points towards a spot in the Kentucky Oaks next May 4.

Both the CashCall Futurity and the Starlet will be run at 1 1/16 miles.

The Grade II, $200,000 Bayakoa Stakes returns to Los Alamitos for the first time since 2014. Restricted to fillies and mares (3-year-olds & up), the Bayakoa will be contested Sunday, Dec. 2.

Possible starters for the race at 1 1/16 miles include 2016 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Champagne Room and Majestic Heat, an easy winner of the Betty Grable Stakes Nov. 12 at Del Mar in her initial start on dirt.

Completing the stakes program are a pair of one mile races for 2-year-olds bred or sired in California – the $100,000-guaranteed Soviet Problem for fillies and the $100,000-guaranteed King Glorious.

The Soviet Problem will be run Saturday, Dec. 2 while the King Glorious will be offered Saturday, Dec. 16.

Track gates – including the Clubhouse and Vessels Club – will open at 9:30 a.m. General parking is free with grandstand admission $3 ($2 for seniors).

The wagering menu includes the Pick Six, a pair of Pick 4’s – races 2-5 and the final four races – as well as the extremely popular Players’ Pick 5 – a 50-cent minimum wager with a reduced 14% takeout rate which is offered on the first five races.

In addition to the Starlet and Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity, the Dec. 9  program will feature a live money handicapping contest with three seats available to the 2018 National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas. A second live money contest will be offered Dec. 16.

There will also be a 2018 wall calendar giveaway – one per paid admission while supplies last - Sunday, Dec. 17.

Entries were taken Monday for the opening day program and a total of 69 horses were entered in the eight races.

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