News and STORIES

Los Alamitos Granted Yearlong Quarter Racing License, Despite Recent Horse Fatalities

Author: Don Mckee
Published: Friday January 22, 2021

The Los Alamitos Race Course, California, was granted a one-year quarter horse racing license by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) on January 21. Board members on the CHRB voted in favor of 4-3 on the decision to extend the track’s license, just days after two horses died when training at the venue.

Los Alamitos Granted Conditional Yearlong Licence

The CHRB’s decision to extend the horse racing license at Los Alamitos comes with a conditional notion, which allows the board to stop racing at the track at any time.

In December, the CHRB granted a six-month license for quarter racing at Los Alamitos for the 2020/21 season. However, this was extended to a yearlong this week, following requests from the track’s owners. Quarter racing will now continue at the venue until December 21, 2021, with a review scheduled in six months.

CHRB spokesperson Mike Marten explained the board has the power to call an emergency meeting if they believe racing at Los Alamitos is unsafe. Marten said the CHRB could review the license at any time, if necessary.

Eric Allred, the owner of Los Alamitos, has argued in favor of a yearlong extension in recent weeks, after the CHRB’s initial approval of a six-month license. He argued that the long-term future of the track would be at stake if a short-term license remained. Allred also felt that a yearlong license would allow supporters, breeders, and trainers to plan for the entire 2020/21 season at the track.

Controversial Decision Following Two More Horse Deaths

While the CHRB’s decision was welcomed by some stakeholders, ongoing fatalities at Los Alamitos has raised questions about the safety of the venue.

On January 17, Los Alamitos released a statement on its official website, confirming the death of two horses at the track. Don’t Stop Looking, a three-year-old filly and Noor Khan, a four-year-old mare, both died when training at the venue. But the circumstances of their deaths have not been disclosed.

The recent deaths of Don’t Stop Looking and Noor Khan took the total number of horse fatalities at Los Alamitos to 29 in the past year. The two horses were the first deaths at the Long-Beach race track since December 16, 2020.

Los Alamitos has a chequered history with horse racing fatalities. In July last year, the track was placed on 10-day probation by the CHRB following a steep rise in horse racing deaths and injuries. By July 2020, there were 20 fatalities at the track, while ten horses also suffered severe injuries. Since the probation was lifted by the CHRB in late Jule, ten horses have died at Los Alamitos.

As a result, the board’s decision to extend Los Alamitos’ racing license could prove controversial, and events at the track will be monitored closely in the coming months to determine whether quarter racing will continue until the end of 2021. Alternatively, the decision will be a big success for supporters, horse breeders, and trainers, who will continue to plan for this season’s races at Los Alamitos.