The Los Alamitos thoroughbred racing meetings next year were reduced from eight weeks to five on Thursday as the California Horse Racing Board finalized dates for Southern California.
It was the board’s first meeting without Chuck Winner, who declined to be reappointed as chairman. A new chairman is expected to be announced when the board meets next month.
Animal right’s activists attended Thursday’s meeting and asked to speak on most issues. Two new members of the board attending their first meeting, Oscar Gonzales and Wendy Mitchell, made a motion to delay the decision on Los Alamitos race dates, but were rebuffed.
When Northern California track operators asked for additional 30 days to assign race dates, the request was granted by the board.
Los Alamitos picked up an extra week in December as part of a compromise measure. Los Alamitos will race thoroughbreds from June 24 until July 5 and from Dec. 2 until Dec. 22, under the auspices of the L.A. County Fair meeting. In this compromise measure, Santa Anita gave up a week of simulcast revenue that could approach about $1 million.
Next year will be the first time in more than 70 years that the Fair meeting has not been held in September.
At a previous meeting, the dates were assigned for Santa Anita and Del Mar, which were similar to those from this year, although Santa Anita lost 12 racing dates from Dec. 26 of this year until June 23, 2020 on a Thursday through Sunday weekly schedule.