Los Alamitos Meet Recap

The track registered a 1-percent increase in average handle during its 2017 season.

Edited press release

Los Alamitos Racecourse ended its 2017 meet on December 17.

Mr Pyc To You posted the biggest upset win in Champion of Champions history and J Fire Up set a record for most money earned in a single season by a filly or mare Quarter Horse at Los Alamitos Race Course to highlight the 67th year of racing at the Cypress oval.

The 146-night meet came to a close on December 17 with the 2018 season set to open on Friday, December 29.

Owned by Ron and Denise Van Amburgh and trainer Jose Flores, Mr Pyc To You won the Grade 1 Champion of Champions at 60-1 odds on December 16, making the 4-year-old PYC Paint Your Wagon stallion the biggest longshot winner in the 45-year history of the race. The previous record longshot winner was Mr Doty Bars, who won the 1979 Champion of Champions at odds of 22-1.

Racing for Darling Farms, Ernesto Solis, and trainer Jaime Gomez, J Fire Up won seven of nine starts on the way to earning $1,430,411 at Los Alamitos. The Kiddy Up filly won the Grade 1 Los Alamitos Two Million Futurity on closing night, as well as the Grade 1 Golden State Million Futurity in November and Governor’s Cup Futurity (RG2) in July. J Fire Up also ran second in the Grade 1 Ed Burke Million Futurity in June. The filly's earnings bettered the previous mark of $1,241,933 set by Higher Fire in '05.    

Other racing highlights for the 2017 meet included Keith Nellesen’s KVN Corona enjoying a perfect juvenile campaign. The colt by Corona Cartel won all six of his starts, including the Ed Burke Million and Grade 2 PCQHRA Breeders Futurity. Dutch Masters III’s Chazaq won the meet’s richest race for 3-year-olds, the Grade 1 $956,500 Los Alamitos Super Derby, while 2015 world champion Heza Dasha Fire surpassed the $2 million mark in career earnings after another great season in which he successfully defended his title in both the Grade 1 Robert Boniface Los Alamitos Invitational Championship and Grade 1 Go Man Go Handicap.

In other racing highlights, Spackman Racing LLC’s Time For Jess won the richest race for aged mares, the Grade 1, $125,000 Mildred Vessels Memorial Handicap, and BH Lisas Boy won six of seven starts and posted Grade 1 wins in the Los Alamitos Winter Championship and Vessels Maturity.

Los Alamitos' average single night total handle enjoyed a 1-percent increase following the conclusion of the 146-night 2016-2017 night racing season. The average single night total handle for the meet was $1,248,395, up from the $1,240,887 averaged last year. Account Deposit Wagering increased 1% with a nightly average handle of $429,128, while the out of state satellite handle was up 4.2-percent to $360,649. The total all-sources handle at Los Alamitos was $182,265,666.

The early Pick Fours at Los Alamitos continued to post record numbers in 2017 with an all-time high of $239,868 set on Sunday, May 7. It was the first time that the Pick Four pool at Los Alamitos has reached the $200,000 plateau. Los Alamitos posted seven of its nine highest early Pick Four handles ever in 2017. The meet was featured record figures in its Late Pick Four. An all-time high $164,219 was handled on Sunday, May 14, and the six highest Late Pick Four pools ever at Los Alamitos were set during the 2017 meet. 

Ed Allred, the sport’s all-time leading owner and breeder, was the top Quarter Horse owner at the meeting with 45 wins led by Champion of Champions finalist He Looks Hot, Truly A Pleasure Handicap winner Bound To Bet, plus talented runners Bemused and Tustin Kid.

Paul Jones was the meet’s leading Quarter Horse trainer for the 19th time in the last 20 years after saddling 87 winners. His barn was led by KVN Corona, the late John and Cina Sperry’s Jess Good Reason, and Jones and Thompson Racing’s Grade 2 Golden State Derby winner That Rico. Jaime Gomez finished as the leading trainer in money earned with $2,862,419.

After finishing second by one win in 2016, Jesus Rios Ayala claimed his first Quarter Horse riding title after piloting 113 winners from 514 starters, nine more than runner-up Cesar De Alba. The leading rider in money earned was Jose Nicasio with $1,902,799. 

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