Although the Los Alamitos summer quarter horse meeting is in full swing, with the $335,000 Dash for Cash Futurity to be run Sunday, much of the attention of the California quarter horse industry is centered on a cabbage patch in western Riverside County.
The 143-acre tract is the planned site of a $46-million race track that will feature quarter horse and harness racing. The new track is not yet named but plans for the facility were given unanimous approval by the California Horse Racing Board at its meeting June 22.
It will be the first new race track in California since 1953, when Los Alamitos was built.
The man behind the venture is Ed Allred, president of Horsemen’s Quarter Horse Racing Assn., which owns half of Los Alamitos and conducts the summer and winter quarter horse racing meetings there.
“Just the fact that there hasn’t been a new track built in California in over 30 years indicates that this is a risky business,” Allred said from his Long Beach office. “However, I am confident that because of the location and the prospect of year-round satellite betting, this new track will be a major success.”
It is the prospect of year-round satellite betting on daytime thoroughbred racing at Santa Anita, Hollywood Park and Del Mar that opened the door for the new track.
“It would be fair to say that without the daytime satellite betting on thoroughbred racing, we wouldn’t be building this new track,” said Don Galloway, the Los Alamitos executive vice president who will oversee the new Riverside project.
The new track will be built just off Interstate 15 at the Limonite exit. The track, which will include a 60-acre public Equestrian Center, will actually be owned by Riverside County, with Allred’s group holding a 55-year lease with an option for 55 more years.
Track officials hope to have their construction plans approved by the end of this year, with construction to begin early in 1991.
Plans call for the first meeting at the new facility to be held in the fall of 1992. If proposed legislation is passed, there will be 38 weeks of both quarter horse and harness racing at the track each year, and 38 weeks at Los Alamitos.
That means there will be times in the year that night racing at Riverside and Los Alamitos will overlap.
“We are not that concerned about the overlap in racing,” Allred said. “We hope to develop two different fan bases between Los Alamitos and Riverside. We would even like to see satellite betting between Los Alamitos and Riverside when both tracks are running.
“The simple fact is that we needed additional weeks of racing for either night industry to survive.”
What would you do if you had one of the favorites in this Sunday’s $335,000 Dash for Cash Futurity and that horse came up with, of all things, a bad back?
If you were trainer Bob Baffert, you would do as thousands of back sufferers do each day. You would seek out a chiropractor.
Baffert trains the 2-year-old gelding Dr Bug Glass, an impressive winner of his Dash for Cash Futurity trial and considered one of the strongest contenders in the Grade I event.
A winner now of his last two races in promising fashion, Dr Bug Glass has gone bad in the back and so Baffert has flown in E. J. Renfro from Arizona to treat the gelding.
Renfro is not a veterinarian but a licensed chiropractor who has made a specialty of treating race horses as well as humans.
“I’ve had him work on my horses before,” Baffert said. “On some horses it works and on some horses it doesn’t. But I won’t be able to run this horse with his back the way it is now, so we have nothing to lose.”
With or without Dr Bug Glass joining them, the favorites in Sunday’s Dash for Cash Futurity figure to be Shawnes Diamond, the fastest qualifier, and Takin on the Cash, a multiple stakes winner.
Shawnes Diamond is a massive son of Shawne Bug owned by the Meadow Creek Ranch and trained by Russell Harris.
In his Dash for Cash Futurity trial, this up and coming 2-year-old rambled to a 20-second win over 400 yards, setting the fastest qualifying time of the night while recording his third win in four starts.
Shawnes Diamond will race as part of an entry Sunday. Stablemate A One Man Band also made the field with the third-fastest qualifying time.
Takin on the Cash was beaten by Shawnes Diamond in their trial meeting, but that is nothing unusual for this young colt. Trained by Caesar Dominguez, Takin on the Cash was also beaten in his trial for the $233,000 Kindergarten on May 23, but returned to record an easy win in the final of that Grade I race.
Takin on the Cash has won both the Kindergarten and the Bay Meadows Futurity this year and the son of Dash for Cash will bring a hefty bankroll of $183,793 in earnings into Sunday’s race.
Officials at Los Alamitos said that they were pleased with their first Sunday afternoon program last weekend.
A crowd of 4,965 showed up and the total handle, both on and off track, reached $1,098,306. The handle would have been greater, had it not been for the long lines during the first two races.
“We thought we had a problem with only having time booked on the satellite until 6 p.m. so we went with reduced time between races,” Galloway said. “We shut out quite a few people the first couple of races, but it shouldn’t be a problem in the future.”