Winter Meet begins Friday at Los Alamitos; Starlet, Los Alamitos Futurity to be run Dec. 7

The third and final Thoroughbred meet of 2019 at Los Alamitos will begin Friday, Dec. 6.

The seven-day Winter season follows the 10-day Los Angeles County Fair at Los Alamitos meet in September and the nine-day Summer Thoroughbred Festival in June-July.

Racing will be conducted Friday-Sunday (Dec. 6-8) and Thursday-Sunday (Dec. 12-15) the final week. Post time will be 1 p.m on weekdays and 12:30 p.m. on weekends.

The two-week meet will be highlighted by a pair of graded events for 2-year-olds – the Grade I, $300,000-guaranteed Starlet for fillies and the Grade II, $200,000-guaranteed Los Alamitos Futurity – Saturday, Dec. 7.

The Starlet is one of the races on the “Road to the Kentucky Oaks’’ with the winner receiving 10 points towards a berth in the Kentucky Oaks next May 1 at Churchill Downs.

Among the leading candidates for the Futurity are Donna Veloce, runner-up behind British Idiom in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Nov. 1 and Bast, winner of the Grade I Del Mar Debutante. Bast is trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, who will be seeking his third consecutive Starlet success after victories by Dream Tree (2017) and Chasing Yesterday (2018).

The Futurity is one of the events on the “Road to the Kentucky Derby.’’ The winner earns 10 points towards a spot in the Kentucky Oaks next May 2.

Among the possible for the Futurity are Anneau d’Or and Wrecking Crew, the 2-3 finishers behind longshot Storm the Court in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Nov. 1, and the Baffert-trained duo of Eight Rings and Thousand Words.

Baffert has won all five renewals of the Futurity – Dortmund (2014), Mor Spirit (2015), Mastery (2016), McKinzie (2017) and Improbable (2018) – since the race was moved to Los Alamitos from Hollywood Park.

Baffert has won the Futurity, which was run in Inglewood from 1981-2013, a record 11 times.

Both the Futurity and the Starlet will be run at 1 1/16 miles.

The Winter meet also features the return – after a one-year absence – of the Grade III, $100,000-guaranteed Bayakoa Stakes. Restricted to fillies and mares (3-year-olds & up) at 1 1/16 miles, the Bayakoa will be run Sunday, Dec. 8.

Completing the stakes program are a pair of one-mile races for 2-year-olds bred or sired in California – the $100,000-guaranteed Soviet Problem for fillies and the $100,000-guaranteed King Glorious.

The Soviet Problem will be run Saturday, Dec. 14 while the King Glorious will be offered 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).

The wagering menu includes the Pick Six – with the traditional 70/30 split and no jackpot provision – a pair of $1 Pick 4’s – races 2-5 and the final four races – as well as the popular Players’ Pick 5 – a 50-cent minimum wager with a reduced 14% takeout rate which is offered on the first five races.

In addition to the Soviet Problem, the Dec. 14 program will feature a live money handicapping contest with two seats available to the 2020 National Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.

Track announcer Michael Wrona will return to call the daytime thoroughbred races at Los Alamitos for the first time since the 2015 Summer 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 were taken Tuesday for the opening day program and a total of 67 horses were entered in eight races.

This article was released by the Los Almaitos Race Course.