Monday, December 5, 2016



            A pair of Grade I races for 2-year-olds and an anticipated start by California Chrome highlight the 2016 Winter meet at Los Alamitos. The eight-day season will begin Thursday, Dec. 8 and continue through Sunday, Dec. 18 with racing conducted on a Thursday-Sunday basis. Post time will be 1 p.m. on weekdays and 12:30 p.m. on weekends.

The $300,000 Starlet for fillies and the $300,000 Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity will be run Saturday, Dec. 10. Both races are at 1 1/16 miles and are being offered at Los Alamitos for the third time after being run previously at the now-closed Hollywood Park (1981-2013).

Street Fancy won the 2015 Starlet for trainer Phil D’ Amato while Hall of Fame conditioner Bob Baffert earned his record eighth Futurity victory with Mor Spirit last Dec. 19. Baffert has won the first two runnings of the Futurity at Los Alamitos as he captured the 2014 renewal with Dortmund.

The world’s richest thoroughbred and the 2014 Horse of the Year, California Chrome is scheduled to make his first start at the track where he has been based for nearly three years in the $100,000-guaranteed Winter Challenge Saturday, Dec. 17. Trained by Art Sherman for Taylor Made Farm and co-breeder Perry Martin, California Chrome, who has been a Los Alamitos resident since January, 2014, has won 15 of 25 and earned $14,452,650.

The Winter Challenge, which will be run at 1 1/16 miles, will be the 5-year-old Lucky Pulpit horse’s final race in California and will serve as a prep for the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park. The World Cup is scheduled to be California Chrome’s last start before he begins his stud career in Kentucky.

“It’s been a tremendous honor to have a worldwide star like California Chrome (left) make Los Alamitos Race Course his home base for the past three years,” said Brad McKinzie, vice president and general manager of the Los Alamitos Racing Association. “For us to have the opportunity to see our hometown hero, California Chrome, race at Los Alamitos, it’s like an early Christmas present.”

There will be two other stakes during the two-week season.  Both are at one mile and for 2-year-olds bred or sired in California. The $100,000-guaranteed Soviet Problem for fillies will be run Saturday, Dec. 17 while the $100,000 King Glorious for colts & geldings – which was won by California Chrome in 2013 – will be contested Sunday, Dec. 18.

There will be three giveaway days during the meet including a Los Alamitos holiday ornament (Dec. 10), a 2017 wall calendar (Dec. 11) and a Los Alamitos beanie hat (Dec. 17). Additionally, fans will have a chance to enter a drawing for an opportunity to win one of eight Smart HDTV’s to be given away on closing day (Dec. 18).

A live money handicapping contest will be offered Dec. 17 with the top three finishers earning a spot in the 2017 Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Association National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.

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 62 and older.

The wagering menu includes the $2 Pick Six, a pair of Pick 4’s – races 2-5 and the final four – as well as the extremely popular Players’ Pick 5 – a 50-cent minimum wager with a reduced 14% takeout rate – on the first five races. The Pick Six will have the standard 70-30 split with 70% of the pool going to those tickets with six winners with the remaining 30% going to tickets with five of six winners.

“We are going with an old school Pick Six structure and not a Pick Six jackpot,’’ added McKinzie. “With an eight day meet, we didn’t feel it would be beneficial to do a jackpot and take that extra money out of the fan’s pocket.’’

Entries for the opening day card will be taken Monday, Dec. 5.

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