Five stakes races – three of which are graded – highlight the 2019 Winter meet at Los Alamitos. The seven-day season will begin Friday, Dec. 6 and continue through Sunday, Dec. 15. Racing will be conducted Friday-Sunday the first week (Dec. 6-8) and Thursday-Sunday the final week (Dec. 12-15). Post time will be 1 p.m. on weekdays and 12:30 p.m. on weekends.
The Grade I, $300,000-guaranteed Starlet for fillies and the Grade II, $200,000-guaranteed Los Alamitos Futurity will be run Saturday, Dec. 7. Both races are at 1 1/16 miles and being offered at Los Alamitos for the sixth time. The two significant races were run previously at Hollywood Park (1981-2013).
Hall of Famer Bob Baffert won both the Starlet and Futurity for the second consecutive year in 2018, taking the former with Chasing Yesterday and the latter with Improbable. Baffert has won all five runnings of the Futurity at Los Alamitos, taking the 2014 renewal with Dortmund, then scoring with Mor Spirit (2015), Mastery (2016) and McKinzie (2017) prior to Improbable’s success.
The other graded stakes is the Grade III, $100,000 Bayakoa Stakes, which will be offered Sunday, Dec. 8. The race at 1 1/16 miles for fillies and mares (3-year-olds & up) returns to the schedule after a one-year absence.
The remaining two stakes are at one mile and for 2-year-olds bred or sired in California. The $100,000-guaranteed Soviet Problem for fillies will be run Saturday, Dec. 14 while the $100,000 King Glorious for colts & geldings will be contested Sunday, Dec. 15.
Track gates – including the Clubhouse and Vessels Club – will open at 9:30 a.m. General parking is free with grandstand admission $3 – $2 for seniors 62 and older.
The wagering menu includes the $2 Pick Six, a pair of $1 Pick 4’s – races 2-5 and the final four – as well as the popular Players’ Pick 5 – a 50-cent minimum wager with a low takeout rate of 14% – on the first five races. The Pick Six will have the standard 70-30 split with 70% of the pool going to those tickets with six winners and the remaining 30% going to tickets with five of six winners.
Track announcer Michael Wrona will return to call the daytime throughbred races at Los Alamitos for the first time since he worked the final three days of the 2014 Los Angeles County Fair meet. A native of Australia, the talented Wrona, who has also called races at, among others, Hollywood Park, Lone Star Park, Arlington Park, Churchill Downs, Santa Anita and Golden Gate Fields, will take over as the nighttime announcer Friday, Dec. 27, succeeding the retiring Ed Burgart.
Entries for the opening day program will be taken Tuesday, Dec. 3.
This article was released by the Los Alamitos Race Course.