Los Alamitos Bids Farewell to California Chrome
California Chrome, who has been based at Los Alamitos since January, 2014, will race for the first time locally – and last time in California – in the $180,000 Winter Challenge Saturday.
Scheduled for 1 1/16 miles, the Challenge – designed as a prep for California Chrome’s career finale in the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Jan. 28 at Gulfstream Park – attracted 11 others, but only 10 will be allowed to compete. The purse for the Challenge is structured so that any horse who finishes is guaranteed $10,000.
The Challenge will go as the last of nine races. Post time Saturday is 12:30 p.m. Scheduled post time for the main event is 4:28 p.m. The next-to-last program of the Winter Thoroughbred meet will also include the $100,000-guaranteed Soviet Problem Stakes.
Restricted to 2-year-old fillies bred or sired in California, the one-mile Soviet Problem will go as the second race and has a scheduled post time of 12:58 p.m.
There will also be a Los Alamitos beanie hat giveaway – one per paid admission while supplies last.
In addition, there will be a live-money handicapping contest with a cash prize and three seats to the 2017 Daily Racing Form/National Thoroughbred Racing Assocation National Championship in Las Vegas on the line.
Cost to enter the tournament is $400. Of that amount, $100 will be placed in the contest prize pool with the remaining $300 going towards a live-money wagering card.
Tournament races will include the entire Los Alamitos card with permitted wagers including win, place, show and exactas. Each entry must bet at least $50 on six races, but there is no limit on the amount of races each entrant can play.
If there are 120 or more entrants in the contest, a fourth seat to the NHC will be awarded.
Owned by Taylor Made Farms and co-breeder Perry Martin and trained by Art Sherman, California Chrome will be a prohibitive favorite to win for the 16th time in 26 starts over the surface where he has been stabled for nearly three years.
The world’s richest active thoroughbred with earnings of $14,452,650, the 5-year-old son of Lucky Pulpit and the Not for Love mare Love the Chase is scheduled to begin his stud career at Taylor Made after the Pegasus World Cup.
“This is going to be our big tuneup for the Pegasus,’’ said Sherman. “I just hope we have a safe trip and everyone has an enjoyable time.
“I’m looking forward to running him here in Orange County. I know he has a lot of fans. I think it will be a great day.’’
Point Piper, who won the Grade III Longacres Mile Aug. 14 at Emerald Downs, will make his Los Alamitos debut for a partnership that includes Gatto Racing and Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
A 6-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway and the Sadler’s Wells mare Imagine, Point Piper has won five of 27 and banked $436,635.
Avanti Bello, who has been third in three of his four starts at Los Alamitos, comes off a victory in an optional claimer Oct. 30 for a partnership that includes Pablo Suarez, Steve Keh and Wonderland Racing Stables and trainer Doug O’Neill.