April 14, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Los Alamitos Race Course owner threatens to close the track for good

The owner of Los Alamitos Race Course said he is withdrawing his application to run a nighttime quarter-horse and thoroughbred meeting next year and planned to stop racing, which could lead to the property being sold and developed. He made the announcement before the California Horse Racing Board voted Thursday to grant the track a six-month license instead of one for a full year.

Ed Allred said the track cannot operate with a guarantee of only six months of racing because owners and trainers have to make plans for an entire year. Under the CHRB ruling, Los Alamitos would have to undergo another license application starting July 1.

“Los Alamitos will be requesting reconsideration of the action taken by the board and hopes that its request will be acted on in an expedited manner,” said Jack Liebau, the track’s vice president.

The move by the board was headed by vice-chairman Oscar Gonzales, who balked at giving the track a yearlong license in light of the number of horse fatalities this year. The track has had 29 racing or training fatalities since Dec. 27, when its season began.

Gonzales‘ proposal first ended in a tie. Another motion that would have granted a yearlong license with a review at six months also ended in a tie. Gonzales, who has worked on both the federal and state level, stressed there is a big difference between “review and approval.”

He was able to persuade board members to come to his side after the two tie votes, and his proposal won in a 5-1 vote with Chairman Greg Ferraro casting the dissenting vote. Ferraro called the move “a mistake.”

Los Alamitos has a license to run its nighttime quarter-horse and thoroughbred meeting starting Dec. 26.

If Allred follows through and closes the track, it would likely be the end of quarter-horse racing in California. In addition, the track is authorized to run seven daytime thoroughbred weeks next year and the track stables hundreds of horses that run at Santa Anita and other tracks.