California Chrome Training Ground Los Alamitos Rolls Out Thoroughbred Racing

Three-year-old thoroughbred California Chrome trained at the Los Alamitos Race Course. Why is that significant? Well, the knock from several "know it alls" in the thoroughbred horse racing industry was that training on the quarter-horse track at Los Alamitos would hurt California Chrome's chances in Kentucky. Art Sherman, the horse's trainer, said he had several people admonish him for training California Chrome at Los Alamitos. He was told time and again that his horse would definitely not win the Kentucky Derby, based solely on where he trained. And in one aspect, they were correct. The Los Alamitos Race Course has been used predominantly for quarter-horse events for the past two decades. But that is all about to change.

$6.5 Million in Improvements Launches Los Alamitos Thoroughbred Schedule

As you probably recall, California Chrome won the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, the first two legs of the vaunted Triple Crown. And that fan favorite horse training at Los Alamitos has brought a lot of thoroughbred attention to the city. Accordingly, building on California Chrome's presence there, race track officials rolled out a two-week thoroughbred schedule of events recently. The course has been renovated on the presumption that a larger track will draw larger crowds. Roughly $1.5 million was invested to expand the previous 5/8 mile dirt oval to almost 1 mile in length. The new 1,380 foot stretch run is now the longest of any horse racing track in North America. Add on another $5 million for adding or improving bathrooms, high definition television monitors, a larger winner's circle and better infrastructure, and it is clear that Los Alamitos is serious about its thoroughbred horse racing future.

Art Sherman - "Los Alamitos Is The Up and Coming Thoroughbred Track"

Art Sherman was recently seen at the track watching the horses run as he laughed with friends and enjoyed a media-free moment, something he has not had too many of recently. When asked about the improvements and thoroughbred horse racing returning to Los Alamitos, the veteran trainer called the race track the "up and coming place for racing" for big name thoroughbreds. The return of daytime thoroughbred racing at Los Alamitos could not have come at a better time for California. Fabled Hollywood Park in Inglewood closed this past December, and Fairplex Park will close its Pomona operations later this year. The infusion of revenue to Southern California and Los Alamitos will help cushion the blow that those track closings will make to thoroughbred horse fans, owners and race tracks in that state.

Los Alamitos Summer Thoroughbred Festival Runs Through July 13

Los Alamitos opening day took place on Thursday, June 26, and a full card of thoroughbred racing is offered through July 13. That includes the Los Alamitos Summer Thoroughbred Festival, which is a schedule of eight days of racing. The last time that thoroughbreds ran at Los Alamitos was 1991, and it is hoped that the added equestrian events will ensure that the race track does not suffer the fate of Hollywood Park. Quarter-horses are essentially sprinting specialists, and thoroughbreds are known to run for greater distances. That is why the track length was improved, because quarter-horses simply do not draw the spectator attention and financial backing that the big-name thoroughbreds provide.

$4.5 Million Take on Thoroughbred Opening Day at Los Alamitos

Opening day Thursday saw a generous 5,702 horse racing fans in attendance, delivering $4.5 million to the race track. Those are decent if unspectacular numbers, and a great start. James Mata is a local equestrian lover who grew up across the street from the track. When asked what he thought about the new thoroughbred racing schedule at Los Alamitos he said, "That's why I'm here today." Having watched quarter-horse racing at the track his whole life, he admitted that there are definite benefits to thoroughbred horse racing. Speaking of the faster quarter-horse events, Mata said, "You bend down to tie your shoe and the race is over." Soon after he made that statement, he was high-fiving a friend as the thoroughbred he wagered on won its race. Here is hoping that Southern California thoroughbred horse racing is as fortunate as Mr. Mata, and that the new Los Alamitos Race Course enjoys success as well.

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