Los Alamitos Releases 2016 Stakes Schedule

The Southern California track will offer $11.4 million in stakes purses during its 2016 meet.

Press release

Champion of Champions winner Heza Dasha Fire is expected to race again at Los Alamitos in 2016. PHOTO: Scott Martinez

Los Alamitos Race Course will host an industry-high 15 Grade 1 Quarter Horse stakes races as part of an outstanding stakes schedule featuring more than $11.4 million in purse money in 2016. 

The lucrative stakes schedule will be headed by the return of the Bank of America Challenge Championships on Saturday, October 29 and a series of rich events that includes three Grade 1 futurities projected to be worth over $1 million each. The stakes schedule will also feature the Grade 1, $900,000-est. Los Alamitos Super Derby on November 6 and the 44th running of the Grade 1, $600,000 Champion of Champions on December 10.

All in all, Los Alamitos will host a total of 35 graded stakes races in 2016, which is also a nation’s best for a Quarter Horse track.  The three richest races of the meet will be the Grade 1, $2-million Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on Sunday, December 11; the Grade 1 $1-million Golden State Million Futurity on Sunday, October 30; and the Grade 1 $1-million Ed Burke Million Futurity on Sunday, June 19. A total of 29 races are expected to boast purses of $100,000 or more in 2015. At least eight of those will have purses of $300,000 or more.

In addition, Los Alamitos will host the $1-milllion California Breeders Champions Night on Saturday, July 30 featuring a full night of stakes races for California-breds. One of the most important events on the stakes schedule, Champions Night will include the $400,000-est. Governor's Cup Futurity, $225,000-est. Governor's Cup Derby, and $100,000 Spencer Childers Memorial Championship Handicap.

Racing Schedule  

Racing is scheduled on a Friday through Sunday basis from December 26, 2015 through December 18, 2016. There will be no live racing at Los Alamitos on Super Bowl Sunday, February 7 and Easter Sunday, March 27.

Rich Winter Session Kicks Off the Meet 

The winter portion of the meet will be headed by three Grade 1 races. The $100,000 Charger Bar Handicap, which was won by Champion of Champions finalist Quirky last year, has regained its Grade 1 status and will feature the top mares on the grounds racing at 400 yards on Sunday, January 3. The Grade 1, $200,000-est. Los Alamitos Winter Derby at 400 yards on February 13 and the Grade 1, $200,000-est. Los Alamitos Winter Championship at 400 yards on February 14 are the two other Grade 1 events to be held during the winter part of the meet. 

Schedule Highlights

Los Alamitos will once again feature some of the most prestigious Quarter Horse derbies in the country. In addition to the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Super Derby and Grade 1 Los Alamitos Winter Derby, the track hosts the Grade 2 Golden State Derby on August 21 and Grade 2 Southern California Derby on closing night, December 18.

Other derbies to be contested will the Grade 3 La Primera Del Ano Derby for fillies and Grade 3 El Primero Del Ano Derby for colts and geldings on the weekend of April 2-3, the Restricted Grade 3 Governor’s Cup Derby on July 30, and the Grade 3 PCQHRA Breeders Derby on Friday, September 30. The Grade 3, $200,000 Adequan Derby Challenge will be held here on October 29.  

Los Alamitos also has a stakes program for older horses that is second to none. In addition to the Champion of Champions, Winter Championship, and Spencer Childers, Los Alamitos will host four other Grade 1 races for older horses in 2016: the Grade 1, $350,000 Bank of America Challenge Championship on October 29; the Grade 1, $150,000 Vessels Maturity on July 3; the Grade 1, $100,000 Go Man Go Handicap on September 4; and the Grade 1, $125,000 Robert L. Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship on October 9.

Also, Los Alamitos will host one of the most important races for older mares in the nation in the Grade 1, $100,000 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap on Sunday, September 25.

Seven Major Futurities on the Docket 

Seven major graded futurities are scheduled at Los Alamitos in 2016. In addition to the three Grade 1 futurities with million dollar purses and the Restricted Grade 3 Governor’s Cup Futurity, the first major race for juveniles will be held on Sunday, May 15 with the running of the Grade 3 Kindergarten Futurity, which has been renamed the Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity and has received an additional $10,000 in added money.

This increase will make its total added money $50,000 in 2016, up from last year’s $40,000 in added money. Starting in 2017, the Robert Adair Kindergarten Futurity will receive an additional $10,000 boost in added money to bring its total to $60,000. A legendary Quarter Horse rider, Adair is tied with Alejandro Luna for most Kindergarten wins with four. Adair passed away earlier this year. With the Kindergarten having been renamed, the previously announced Robert Adair Handicap has been cancelled.

Los Alamitos' futurity schedule will also feature the Grade 2, $400,000 projected PCQHRA Breeders Futurity on Saturday, October 1 and the Grade 2, $150,000 John Deere Juvenile Challenge on Saturday, October 29.  In addition, Los Alamitos will host the $125,000 projected Wild West Futurity on Sunday, October 23 for horses from the Intermountain, Northwest regions plus Nevada and Canada.

Maiden Stakes and Distance Events Return

The 2016 Los Alamitos Maiden Stakes for 3-year-olds will feature an estimated purse of $120,000 on Sunday, February 21. Foals of 2013 who are non-winners as of December 1, 2015, are eligible for the 350-yard race.

Los Alamitos' stakes schedule will include six 870-yard stakes, starting with the Wheatland Handicap on Sunday, April 17. California Breeders Champions Night will feature the Sign Of Lanty Handicap around the turn, while the Truly A Pleasure on September 2, the Grade 1, $150,000 Zoetis Distance Challenge and Q Racing Video Distance Stakes on October 29, and the Snowbound Superstar on December 4 complete the track's 870 stakes schedule.

AQHA News and information is a service of the American Quarter Horse Association. For more news and information, follow @AQHA Racing on Twitter, "like" Q-Racing on Facebook, and visit www.aqharacing.com.