From Fairplex to Los Alamitos
For more than 70 years, Fairplex has been the home of horse racing at the Los Angeles County Fair. Today it was announced following several weeks of discussions with California horse racing industry leaders they have decided, contingent upon California Horse Racing Board approval, their future racing dates starting this fall will be conducted at Los Alamitos Race Course in nearby Cypress, California.
Jim Henwood, CEO of Fairplex, announced the decision along with representatives of Los Alamitos Race Course and the Thoroughbred Owners of California.
“The only constant in life is change,” said Henwood in announcing the organization’s decision. “We have enjoyed a long and proud history of horse racing here at Fairplex, but with the limitations of our facility we made a strategic decision for the continued growth of the industry to reach out to Los Alamitos and seek to move our dates to their facility. By moving our dates to a new market on a one- mile track we think we can grow on the past success of our race meet.”
Joe Morris, President of the Thoroughbred Owners of California, echoed Henwood’s sentiments concerning the move to Los Alamitos.
“With the marketplace challenges horse racing faces it is more important than ever that we connect our sport with a new audience,” Morris stated. “Los Alamitos has made a tremendous investment in the past year to build a first class one-mile track, and they are located right in the middle of an exciting new market in Orange County. It is with great appreciation to Fairplex and their 70-plus years of racing tradition that we have worked in conjunction with them to facilitate this move.”
If this move to Orange County is approved by the California Horse Racing Board it will mean that Los Alamitos will now conduct a fall meeting to go along with their previously approved summer and Horse Racing to Relocate from Fairplex to Los Alamitos This Fall winter thoroughbred dates. The first thoroughbred meet at Los Alamitos is set to open on Thursday, July 3 with the $500,000 Los Alamitos Derby on July 5 highlighting the two-week stand.
“Naturally we are excited about the prospect of adding additional dates to our 2014 thoroughbred racing calendar, and we are very appreciative to Fairplex for the opportunity to conduct their race meet here at Los Alamitos,” said Los Alamitos Racing Association Vice-President, Brad McKinzie. “We plan to immediately work with the CHRB and other industry stakeholders to make sure these racing dates are used to add value to the California thoroughbred racing calendar.”
While Fairplex may be leaving the live racing world, the southern California facility will still play a major role in the sport’s future. Fairplex is home to the Finish Line Sports Grill, one of the state’s most successful satellite betting facilities. Henwood indicated that Fairplex has plans to greatly expand and upgrade that facility in the very near future.
The 2014 Fairplex racing dates currently call for an 11-day meeting opening on September 5 and running through a September 21 closing day.
TOC is the official organization serving new, veteran and future Thoroughbred owners in the state. It represents, advances, and protects owners’ interests and rights in legislative, administrative and business matters. www.toconline.com.