Los Alamitos Race Course Handicapping Contest Will Give Big Payout This Weekend

Los Alamitos Race Course has another day-night horse race betting doubleheader weekend, while Santa Anita Park waits on deck. California bettors have options to attend the live races or access them via the TVG app.

The racetrack features another pair of $75,000 stakes races and a package of Saturday-Sunday twin bills of afternoon and evening racing. The Los Alamitos Special unfolds over 1 1/16 miles and the Capote Stakes is 6 1/2 furlongs.

As the Cypress facility concludes its abbreviated daytime meet, it will maintain the weekend evening racing for quarter horses.

This unique track between Anaheim and Long Beach has done more than just bridge the closing of Del Mar Racetrack and the opening of the Santa Anita fall meet, running Sept. 30-Nov. 6.

Los Al goes out with a bang, dangling a special event for horse-racing handicappers.

Here’s the full breakdown.

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Do You Want to Be a Player?

Los Al unfurls a special competition for patrons at the track.

It’s a handicapping contest that provides cash prizes and a berth to the NTRA National Handicapping Championship next March. The object is to have the highest bankroll at the end of the day’s races among a field of competitors. And it costs little to gamblers who already expected to wager moderately or heavily.

Of the $500 entry fee, only $100 goes into the pot. The other $400 is one’s own money, which must be put into play in order to  qualify for prizes. Players keep that bankroll at the end of the day.

Anyone who signs up, puts the entire $400 into action throughout the entire card, and bets $50 or more on at least five of the races can qualify for the prize board.

“We think of it as a fun contest and  affordable contest,” Orlando Gutierrez,  the director of marketing for Los Al, told California Casinos. “It really only costs you $100 into the prize pool, because the rest is money you retain so long as you put the entire $400 into play.

“The players love it because we have a leaderboard that gets updated after each race and they get to see their names up there. If it gets close at the end of the card, that last race really gets intense. Players need to decide if they want to go for broke and try to win everything if they are not in the top five or play conservatively if they are in the lead.

“A lot of the players know each other too, so they know the styles their opponents are likely to play.”

Gutierrez said the contest usually draws 80-100 participants.

Here Is the Prize Breakdown

  • First place gets 50% of the pool
  • Second place is worth 20%
  • Third place garners 15%
  • Fourth is worth 7.5%

The gambler who wagers the most money also obtains 7.5%. It’s called the churn and is aptly named. Churn, baby, churn. Patronage has its privileges.

If there are 100 players, the pot will have $10,000. Beyond the money, it’s a handicapping Super Bowl to the winner.

Bragging rights are priceless.

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A Look Back at Los Al’s Opening Weekend 

It featured a combination of form and surprise.

On Sunday, the Chosen Vron prevailed in the E.J. Johnston Stakes. After being outgunned in the Grade II Pat O’Brien Stakes at Del Mar, he triumphed in this $75,000 affair.

Ganadora, with the connections of Bob Baffert and Juan Hernandez, easily captured the Dark Mirage Stakes on Sunday. Baffert is the Hall of Fame trainer who tied for the Del Mar training title. Hernandez won the riding title there easily.

The combination proved formidable as Ganadora won for fun at 4-to-5, bolting to the lead and never being threatened.

In an abbreviated meet, longshots may pop out of nowhere. Trainers who feel their horses are even mildly in shape may take a stab at snaring a winning purse. Los Al had an excellent longshot combination come in for its fourth race last Saturday.

In maiden-claiming company with a large 10-horse field, the breeding grounds for a big score, Sayers won at odds of approximately 20-to-1. He drifted up from 10-to-1 odds.

Cross Examine was second at 5-to-1, completing a $201.40 exacta. Asphalt Andy completed the trifecta, which paid $1,248 for a $1 ticket. The $2 superfecta with 8-to-1 shot Precedent in fourth paid $17,948, meaning $8,974 for $1 dollar and $897 for the 10-center.

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They’re Heading for the Gate at Santa Anita

It’s nearly post time at the iconic horse-racing facility.

Santa Anita, which opens its fall meet next Friday, has hosted the Breeders’ Cup, the Super Bowl of horse racing, a record 10 times. Churchill Downs is next with nine. Santa Anita also is the site of the 2023 Breeders’ Cup.

Among its annual contribution to racing is the Santa Anita Derby, one of the major Kentucky Derby preps.

And its fall meet will be here before gamblers know it.

Santa Anita’s 18-day Autumn Meet will be highlighted by 26 stakes, 15 of them graded. Overnight purses remain the same as last year. Stakes purses are the same as in 2021, with a few exceptions.

Both the Golden State Juvenile and the Golden State Juvenile Fillies have had their purses increased from $150,000 to $175,000, while the Unzip Me and the Anoakia now have purses of $85,000 — up from $75,000 last year.

Additionally, two restricted stakes, the Swingtime and the Lure, now offer purse money of $80,000, up $10,000 each.

Santa Anita Park has announced that its 2022-23 Winter/Spring Stakes Schedule will offer fans and horsemen a total of 93 stakes, 10 of them Grade I events, including the $750,000 Runhappy Santa Anita Derby on April 8, and 58 graded races beginning with the track’s traditional opener on Monday, Dec. 26, through closing day, June 18.

About the Author

Dave Bontempo

Dave Bontempo is a writer for California Casinos, and has covered the horse racing and boxing industry extensively since the 1980s. He was an award-winning writer at the Press of Atlantic City. As a broadcaster, he has won the Sam Taub Award for Excellence in Boxing Broadcasting, issued by the Boxing Writers Association of America. He has called major fights for HBO, ESPN, Showtime, and other networks since the 1980s. He is in the New Jersey and Atlantic City Boxing Halls of Fame. Dave shifted gears to cover the emerging legalized sports-betting industry in 2018.