DEL MAR, Calif. (Nov. 19, 2015) -- Los Alamitos Race Course will not be able to support the 2016 editions of the Los Alamitos Futurity (gr. I) and the Starlet (gr. I), track official Brad McKinzie said during a California Horse Racing Board session Nov. 19 at Del Mar.
Citing a decrease in dates, from three weeks for this year's winter meeting (Dec. 3-20), to two weeks in 2016, as well as current handle numbers, McKinzie essentially asked the other tracks in Southern California—Del Mar and Santa Anita Park—to take over the grade I races.
"We informed the industry and the (Thoroughbred Owners of California), right after the dates were awarded, that there is just no way, with a two-week meet, that Los Alamitos can afford to conduct the Starlet and Los Alamitos Futurity and do them justice, and keep them grade I events," said McKinzie, the general manager of Thoroughbred racing at Los Alamitos. "We put it out, that someone in this industry, I think, needs to pick up these two races, which are important national races and hopefully do more with them than we can do now.
"Certainly, we shouldn't see these races going off the schedule."
After running the Futurity—formerly the CashCall Futurity run at Hollywood Park, and earlier the Hollywood Futurity—with a $500,000 purse last year, when Dortmund won in a blanket finish with Firing Line and Mr. Z, the track has dropped the purse of this year's event to $350,000.
The Starlet—formerly the Hollywood Starlet when it was also at Hollywood Park—also saw its purse drop from $350,000 to $300,000 this year. The Starlet was won last year by Take Charge Brandi.
When CHRB member Madeline Auerbach asked if Los Alamitos will make up some money with the decreased purses in December, McKinzie said "we won't make up a dime."
"This stakes schedule and overnight purse schedule is based on the handle we generated last year," McKinzie said of the 2015 slate that includes the Futurity and Starlet, as well as the Soviet Problem and King Glorious, both at $100,000 apiece. "We were $600,000 overpaid last year and we won't get a dime of it back."
The Cypress, Calif. track also dropped the $200,000 Bayakoa Stakes (gr. II) this winter.
"To say that we overr
ached on our stakes schedule last winter would be putting it mildly," McKinzie said.