For the second straight year, Los Alamitos Race Course hosted eight weeks of daytime major Southern California Thoroughbred racing highlighted by the Bob Baffert-trained Mor Spirit winning the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Futurity at 1 1/16th of a mile. The eight weeks of daytime racing were split into three meets held in July, September and December with Los Alamitos hosting a total of 28 daytime racing dates. Twenty of those days also featured the traditional evening Quarter Horse and Thoroughbred racing programs.
A total of 150 racing nights were held at Los Alamitos in 2015, an exciting meet that was highlighted by tremendous individual campaigns from horses like S-Quarter K LLC’s Heza Dasha Fire, the winner of the Grade 1 Champion of Champions and Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby; five-time stakes winner Moonist, the winner of the Grade 1 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship and Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap; and Walk Thru Crystal, the winner of the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity and Grade 2 Kindergarten Futurity. Other top stars during the meeting included three-time derby winner Forget It, multiple futurity winner Ima Fearless Hero, the winner of the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity, and Quirky, winner of the Grade 1 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap and Grade 2 Charger Bar Handicap.
The early Pick Fours continued to be the most popular wager at Los Alamitos with an all-time record figure of $178,248 set on Sunday, May 3. The meet featured seven of the 10 highest Pick 4 pools ever. The average early Pick 4 for the year was over $115,000 per night. The meet also featured an all-time record in the late Pick 4 of $141,711 also set on May 3. Three out of the top four highest pools in the late Pick 4 were established in 2015.
Ed Allred was the leading Quarter Horse owner at the meeting with 69 wins from 403 starters for a 17% win ratio in 2015. The AQHA Hall of Fame Owner and Breeder campaigned the Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap and Charger Bar Handicap winner Quirky and Champion of Champions finalist Well And Good. EG High Desert Farms was the second leading owner with 33 wins headed by two-time Grade 1 futurity winner Walk Thru Crystal. Martha Wells finished third with 18 wins. Paul Jones was the meet’s leading Quarter Horse trainer for the 17th time in the last 18 years after saddling 101 winners. Jose Flores with 62 wins and Jaime Gomez with 45 finished second and third in the standings. Cruz Mendez piloted 119 Quarter Horse winners to finish as the meet’s leading rider for the fourth straight year. Mendez has been Mr. Consistency at Los Alamitos the past two years, as he also piloted 119 Quarter Horse winners in 2014. Carlos Huerta finished second in the standings with 87 wins, while Cesar De Alba was third with 84 wins. Omar Herrera Santos, who a few years ago was working as a farrier and exercise rider in the Texas racing circuit, was the leading Thoroughbred jockey during the year-round night meet at Los Alamitos. In his first full-year as a jockey, the 29-year-old pilot finished with 62 wins. Cheryl Charlton was second with 60 victories, while this track’s all-time leading Thoroughbred jockey Ramon Guce was third with 55 wins. Charles Treece earned his 17th Thoroughbred training title with 38 victories at Los Alamitos, four more than second leading trainer Angela Aquino. Antonio Soto was third with 27 wins. Pamela Barana finished as the meet’s leading Thoroughbred owner with 16 wins from only 32 starters. Jose Avalos was second with 12 wins, while Mike Puglisi, Ashley Garcia, and CD Ranch finished in a tie for third with 10 wins each.
In other highlights, the outstanding California-bred 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome returned to his home base of Los Alamitos during the fall to begin training for his 2016 campaign. California Chrome is being pointed to the January 9 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita.