Los Alamitos Race Course (Cypress, CA)
(Racing Days: 12/27/2019 - 12/20/2020)
Los Alamitos Race Course is a horse racing track in Cypress, California. The track hosts both thoroughbred and quarter horse racing. The track has the distinction of holding four quarter horse stakes races with purses over $1 million, more than any other track in the United States. Although the track is geographically located in the city of Cypress, it has a Los Alamitos postal address (zip code 90720). Los Alamitos lies just across Katella Avenue to the south.
Ed Burgart is the track commentator for races other than thoroughbreds. The thoroughbreds use the outer 1 mi (1.609 km) track and the other breeds the inner 0.625 mi (1.006 km) track.
Arriving from Kentucky with only $19 to his name, Frank Vessels Sr. built a fortune in the construction industry and eventually purchased a 435-acre (1.76 km2) ranch in Orange County. Racing at what is today Los Alamitos started off as match races contested on the Vessels Ranch in 1947.
The first parimutuel meet at Los Alamitos was held in 1951. The meet lasted 11 days, closing on 15 December. It rained for ten of the eleven days of the inaugural meet. Frank Vessels and his family spent many hours during this first meet repairing rain-induced damage to the racecourse.
The closing night festivities featured a world-record performance by the mare Bart B S in the Miss Princess Handicap. She covered the 400 yd (365.8 m) in a time of :20.3.
Following the first meet, Mr. Vessels sank $100,000 of his personal funds into improvements at the track and lobbied the California Horse Racing Board for a total of 16 days of racing, which he was granted. The 1952 season saw financial success as business doubled over the initial meet.
In 2014, with the 2013 closure of Hollywood Park, the Los Alamitos track was expanded to 1 mile (1.6 km) and hosted two Thoroughbreds-only meets.
The track got considerable publicity when Art Sherman relocated his training stable's home base from HollyWood Park to Los Alamitos, and his trainee, the colt California Chrome won the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, developing a large fan base and was dubbed "America's Horse". Sherman Racing Stables' lodgings at Los Alamitos, away from the better-known Santa Anita Park, contributed to the horse's populist appeal.
The Los Alamitos winter 2014 meet featured the relocated Grade I Starlet Stakes, won by Take Charge Brandi, giving trainer D. Wayne Lukas his eighth win in the Starlet, and also making him one of the few trainers to win at Los Alamitos with both Quarter Horses and Thoroughbreds. Bobby Neuman is the track commentator during the thoroughbreds meets.
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