Los Alamitos suffers its 29th horse death in less than a year

Thoroughbreds race at Los Alamitos Race Course.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Los Alamitos’ nighttime meeting had its 29th racing or training horse death since the season began Dec. 27 as Racing N Lace was injured during the seventh race on Saturday night and later euthanized. The death comes in advance of a California Horse Racing Board meeting Dec. 17, when Los Alamitos’ license application for next year will be heard.

Racing N Lace, a 2-year-old filly, was running in a 110-yard quarter-horse race for allowance horses when she interfered with Apolitical Reason, causing the horse’s jockey to be unseated. Racing N Lace continued the race but was pulled up by jockey Jonathan Roman after the finish line and vanned off the track. Luis Valenzuela, Apolitical Reason’s jockey, was unhurt.

The exact nature of the fatal injury to Racing N Lace was unknown.

Los Alamitos’ 2021 application was supposed to be taken up at the November meeting of the CHRB, but the Board asked the track to come back with a more defined safety plan. Los Alamitos, which runs both quarter horses and lower quality thoroughbreds, is the only track in the state to run year-round.

The heavy favorite, Princess Noor, was pulled up entering the stretch, allowing Varda to win the 1 1/16-mile race for 2-year-old fillies.

Dec. 5, 2020

The track also is running an 11-day thoroughbred only meeting in the daytime. There have been no fatalities in either of the Los Alamitos daytime meetings. The daytime thoroughbreds in Southern California have gone three months without a racing or training death, the last coming Sept. 5 at Del Mar.

This is Los Alamitos’ fourth death since Sept. 5.

Racing N Lace was making her fifth start, having won her first race but not finishing better than sixth in her subsequent four races. She had earned $4,955 for owner Kolleen Ledgerwood and trainer Roberto Dominguez. It was the first fatality for Dominguez this year.

It is expected that Los Alamitos will be granted a license for next year but placed under a lot of scrutiny. Chairman Greg Ferraro has said it is the mission of the Board to reform racing, not shut it down.