The Winter thoroughbred meet at Los Alamitos will begin Friday, Dec. 3. Racing will be conducted Friday-Sunday (Dec. 3-5) this week and Thursday-Sunday (Dec. 9-12) next week. Weekday post time will be 1 p.m. while post time for weekends will be 12:30 p.m.
The Winter meet will be highlighted by a pair of graded events for 2-year-olds – the Grade I, $300,000-guaranteed Starlet for fillies Saturday, Dec. 4 and the Grade II, $300,000-guaranteed Los Alamitos Futurity Saturday, Dec. 11.
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 May 6, 2022 at Churchill Downs.
Among the leading candidates for the Starlet are Grace Adler, winner of the Grade I Del Mar Debutante, Eda, who has won three of five starts for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, and Surfer Girl Stakes winner Cairo Memories.
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 Derby May 7, 2022.
Among the nominees to the Futurity are recent Bob Hope Stakes winner Messier, Pinehurst, who captured the Grade I Del Mar Futurity, and Pappacap, who has been 1-2 in four of five starts for Hall of Fame trainer Mark Casse.
Baffert has won all seven renewals of the Futurity – Dortmund (2014), Mor Spirit (2015), Mastery (2016), McKinzie (2017), Improbable (2018), Thousand Words (2019) and Spielberg last year – 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 13 times.
Both the Futurity and the Starlet will be run at 1 1/16 miles.
The Winter meet will also feature one other graded stakes – the Grade III, $100,000 Bayakoa. Restricted to fillies and mares (3-year-olds & up) at 1 1/16 miles, the Bayakoa will be run Sunday, Dec. 5.
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 Friday, Dec. 10 while the King Glorious will be offered Sunday, Dec. 12.
Track gates – including Vessels Club and Burgart’s – 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 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.
There will also be a handicapping contest Saturday, Dec. 11 and the Los Alamitos Racing Association will offer a cash prize and a pair of berths in the 2022 National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas.
Cost to enter is $500. Of that amount, $100 will be placed in the contest prize pool with the remaining $400 going towards a live money wagering card.
Tournament races will include the entire card at Los Alamitos. Permitted wagers include win, place, show, exactas, trifectas and daily doubles. Each entry must wager at least $50 on a minimum of five races that day, but there is no wagering limit.
The player with the highest bankroll at the end of the day will be declared the winner and the second highest bankroll will be the runner-up.
The winner will receive 50% of the prize pool. The remaining payoffs: 20% (2nd place), 15% (3rd place, 7.5% (4th place) and 7.5% (Most Money Wagered).
The Dec. 10 program will also feature a winner’s circle ceremony and video presentation honoring trainer Art Sherman, who recently announced his retirement.
Sherman, 84, who has been involved in racing as an exercise rider, jockey and trainer for more than 67 years, had his greatest success as a conditioner with two-time Horse of the Year California Chrome.
Winner of the 2014 Kentucky Derby and Preakness, California Chrome was based at Los Alamitos for most of his career. Sherman is scheduled to saddle his final starter Dec. 10.