SBD/December 19, 2013/Facilities

Los Alamitos Race Course Set For $3M Upgrade With Eyes On Higher-Stakes Races

Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress, Calif., will undergo a $3M upgrade in order to "host an expanded slate of thoroughbred races," according to a front-page piece by Andrew Edwards of the Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM. Los Alamitos spokesperson Brad McKinzie said that outside of its "signature quarter horse races," the course is "limited to relatively low-stakes thoroughbred races." Edwards notes the expansion will make it possible for the track to "host five weeks of higher-stakes thoroughbred races, which will be spread across next July and December." McKinzie said that the project "would not be taking place if Hollywood Park were not scheduled for closure after the end of its season this Sunday." He added that construction is "likely to be completed by Jan. 20." Edwards notes the work "mostly involves grading a new track." It will give Los Alamitos "new opportunities to attract bettors to the more prestigious world of thoroughbred racing." But former Santa Anita Park VP/Marketing Allen Gutterman said that "getting people to go to the racetrack -- any racetrack -- has become a difficult feat." There is "a sense even among the track's operators that the trend from on-site betting to online betting is irreversible." McKinzie said that business at Los Alamitos is "flat relative to the pace of betting at the track last year." Edwards writes the big challenge for operators is "getting bettors to watch a race in person when one can bet at multiple tracks from home." The popularity of online wagering means only some 12% of "bets made on a given race program is wagered by people present at the track" (Long Beach PRESS-TELEGRAM, 12/19).
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