Los Alamitos Takes a Page From Past With the American Pacing Classic


The American Pacing Classic, which put California harness racing on the map until the event was discontinued in 1981, will resume at Los Alamitos with a $150,000 finish on Sept. 29.

"Everything's finalized," Lloyd Arnold, president and general manager of the track, said Wednesday. "We'll have the best horses in the United States for the Classic. We're coming of age this fall."

The American Pacing and Trotting classics were held annually at Hollywood Park from 1955 through 1981 and attracted most of the top names in the sport. The American Pacing Classic was won by such stars as Adios Butler, Meadow Skipper, Cardigan Bay, Overcall, Albatross, Rambling Willie and Niatross.

"We'll bring the Trotting Classic back next year," said Arnold, part of a group that bought Los Alamitos for $71 million last year from Hollywood Park Operating Co.

"We've had fabulous feedback. Everyone says, 'Whatever I've got, I'm sending, if he's good enough.' "

The Pacing Classic will include $35,000 legs on Sept. 8, 15 and 22. The nine highest money-earners will qualify for the final. Nominations close July 15 with a $500 payment for the free-for-all pace. Races will be at one mile, with a $75,000 first prize for the final.

The Classic will be the most important harness race in California since the 1986 Breeders' Crown Horse and Gelding Pace was raced at Los Alamitos. The $301,350 event was won by Forrest Skipper, who culminated an unbeaten season and clinched horse-of-the-year honors.

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