Fairplex shift of racing dates to Los Alamitos should benefit California racing
April 26, 2014, San Francisco, CA. ~ The Los Angeles County Fair at Fairplex plans to phase out its racing-related activities in the next few months, according to chief executive officer James Henwood.
Meeting at Golden Gate Fields on April 25, California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) commissioners questioned Henwood and Brad McKinzie, Los Alamitos Racing Association vice president, on the proposed relocation of the 11-day meeting to the Orange County facility for the racing days of September 5-21.
Henwood said, “Fairplex with three weeks of racing and the steady decline in business over the past several years, cannot afford to make the capital improvements necessary to make the aging facility successful.”
Under this commitment, Barretts Sales, the major equine auction enterprise in the state that operates at Fairplex, would move to Del Mar under the direction of the 22nd Agricultural District beginning in 2015.
The closing of the Fairplex facilities will also impact trainers using the track, according to Alan Balch, executive director of the California Thoroughbred Trainers. He had lobbied successfully to keep Fairplex as a stabling site as the California racing industry was working out its post-Hollywood Park plans.
McKinzie said he believed that Los Alamitos, 35 miles away, would generate better on-track attendance and handle than the Los Angeles County Fair site. “We think this move will strengthen the Southern California racing calendar,” he added. “We’re very excited about the prospects.”
The plan is still waiting approval from the CHRB.
Los Alamitos, recently upgraded and expanded their track. Los Alamitos has hosted live Thoroughbred meetings since 1933. The 2014 Los Alamitos Festival begins July 3.