CYPRESS, Calif. – Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert made some history and Majestic Heat became a graded stakes winner on dirt were the highlights of the Winter Thoroughbred meet, which concluded Sunday.

The 11-day season – shortened by one day when racing was cancelled Friday, Dec. 8 due to the  Lilac fire which swept through the San Luis Rey Dows training center in Bonsall the day before - saw an increase in all-sources handle.

Although complete business figures won’t be available for several days, F. Jack Liebau, the vice president of the Los Alamitos Racing Association, said Sunday afternoon all-sources handle was up about 2% over comparable dates of the 2016 Winter Meet, which was eight days long.  He added handle through advance deposit wagering providers and the Southern California satellite network increased 5%.

Field size rose over the Summer Thoroughbred Festival in July and the Los Angeles County Fair meet in September with an average of 7.54 starters per race.

“Our meet was overshadowed by the fire at San Luis Rey and we continue to be concerned about the implications of that tragedy,’’ said Liebau. “Although our field size was about the same as it was at this meet last year, we were hurt by six days where we had only a few San Luis Rey based horses competing after we had been averaging at least three or four a day before that terrible event.’’

Baffert became the first trainer to win both the Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity and the Starlet in the same year when McKinzie – via the disqualification of stablemate Solomini – and heavily-favored Dream Tree won the two prestigious events for 2-year-olds Dec. 9.

The victory by McKinzie, named in honor of Brad McKinzie, the longtime Los Alamitos executive who died Aug. 6, was Baffert’s 10th in the Futurity, which was run at Hollywood Park between 1981-2013. The trainer has won all four renewals of the race at Los Alamitos, scoring with Dortmund (2014), Mor Spirit (2015) and Mastery (2016) prior to McKinzie’s success.

A son of Street Sense and the Petionville mare Runway Model, McKinzie is 2-for-2 for owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman.

In her first start beyond seven furlongs, Dream Tree toyed with three rivals in the Starlet to remain perfect in three starts for Phoenix Thoroughbred III.

Trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella and owned by a partnership that includes Bardy Farm, Ron McCauley and co-breeder Madeline Auerbach, Majestic Heat rallied to win the Bayakoa Dec. 3 as the Grade II for older fillies and mares was run at Los Alamitos for the first time since 2014.

Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, the 5-year-old Unusual Heat mare improved to 2-for-2 on dirt, having won the seven-furlong Betty Grable three weeks earlier.

Baffert also topped the trainer standings for the meet, finishing with six victories. It was the fifth time Baffert has either led or shared the title at Los Alamitos since thoroughbred racing returned in July, 2014.

Doug O’Neill and Baffert tied for most victories (14) for the year at Los Alamitos, combining the Winter meet with the Summer Thoroughbred Festival and the LACF meet.

Apprentice Evin Roman made it a clean sweep of the three meets, finishing the Winter season with 18 victories, 10 more than closest pursuer Stewart Elliott.

A 19-year-old native of Bayaman, Puerto Rico, Roman finished the year with 48 wins at Los Alamitos. He totaled 13 in July and 17 in September.

Thoroughbred racing will return to Los Alamitos for three meets in 2018.

The Summer Thoroughbred Festival will begin Thursday, June 28 and continue through Sunday, July 15. The Los Angeles County Fair meet will begin Thursday, Sept. 6 and conclude Sunday, Sept. 23 while the eight-day Winter season will start Thursday, Dec. 6 and wrap Sunday, Dec. 16. The first two meets are 12 days long.


CYPRESS, Calif. – Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith won his third stakes of the Winter Thoroughbred meet, guiding Intimidate to a 1 ¼ length score in the $100,345 King Glorious Saturday at Los Alamitos.

Smith, who captured the Grade II Bayakoa with Majestic Heat Dec. 3 and the Grade I Los Alamitos CashCall Futurity with McKinzie – via disqualification – Dec. 9, has won nine stakes locally since thoroughbred racing returned in July, 2014.

Much troubled when well-beaten in the Golden Nugget Nov. 11 at Golden Gate Fields after winning the first two starts of his career over that track’s synthetic surface, Intimidate broke sharply in the King Glorious and essentially battled throughout with 7-1 shot Lucky Romano before asserting his superiority in the final sixteenth of a mile.

Owned by James Eaton, Maria Hess and breeder Don Muldoon and trained by Bob Hess, Sr., Intimidate, a 2-year-old son of Vronsky and the Perfect Mandate mare Perfect Hostess, completed the mile in 1:38.76 in his introduction to dirt.

The $57,000 payday increased his earnings to $99,640 and he paid $10, $6.40 and $4.40 as the 4-1 second choice in the field of seven.

“He was lucky he didn’t go down last time,’’ said Hess, Sr., recalling Intimidate’s bad luck shortly after the start of the Golden Nugget. “I didn’t know if he could run a mile and I didn’t know if he could run on dirt, but I knew he can run.

“We had to find out and this looked like a pretty good spot. (Smith) rode him exactly the way I told him.  I said, ‘You ride him.’ We know now he can handle two turns and dirt and I think he might do better as time goes on.’’

Smith was impressed with the winner in his initial collaboration with the chestnut.

“He ran a great race,’’ he said. “He got to pull himself up a little and was leaning in the stretch, but I was able to straighten him out and he held them off.’’

In his first start as a gelding, Lucky Romano paid $7.80 and $4.60 while finishing 2 ¼ lengths in front of 5-1 shot Campaigner. The show price on Campaigner was $4.40.

Completing the order of finish were Minoso, Royal Trump, Bookies Luck, the 6-5 favorite on the strength of consecutive stakes wins at Del Mar, and Oh Man.

Racing resumes Sunday at Los Alamitos. Post time for the final day of the Winter Thoroughbred meet is 12 Noon.

                                                  RESULTS FROM DECEMBER  16 QUALIFIER 


Here are the final standings for the Los Alamitos NHC Qualifier on December 16. Congratulations to Jonathan Pittman, Paul Belanger and Jeff Ho as the winners of the 2018 NHC berths on Saturday. The contest featured 76 entries and $7,600 in cash prizes. Thank you to all that participated. Our next contests will include a Quarter Horse contest in late winter/early spring, plus a Thoroughbred contests in June/July. Date will be announced soon! If you would like to join our e-mail list for contest info and more, please send a message to larace@losalamitos.com.



       The Quarter Horse Benevolent Foundation and Los Alamitos Race Course owner and CEO Dr. Edward Allred have each donated $25,000 and F. Jack Liebau, the vice president of the Los Alamitos Racing Association, has donated $10,000 for a total of $60,000 to the relief efforts for the tragic Lilac fire that swept through the San Luis Rey training center in Bonsall, Ca. on December 7.

The donations will be made to the California Thoroughbred Horsemen’s Foundation, Inc., a non-profit foundation that presently assists over 5,000 California Horse Racing Board licensed backstretch workers and their families. Donations received by the CTHF will go directly to the victims most in need once it is determined where the most need lies. For others wishing to make donations, it is suggested they be channeled through CTHF. To do so visit cthfcares.org.

The Quarter Horse Benevolent Charitable Foundation was established years ago to serve the needs of the Quarter Horse backstretch community. 

“When horsemen are in need of help, there is no distinction between Thoroughbred and Quarter Horse horsemen,’’ said Dominic “Bud” Alessio, president of the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association.



Los Alamitos Race Course
(714) 820-2800
Vessels Club Reservations (714) 820-2681
4961 Katella Ave. Los Alamitos, CA 90720