Los Alamitos Race Course in Cypress, California, was approved for a one-year quarter horse racing license by a 4-3 vote by the California Horse Racing Board (CHRB) Jan. 21. The decision by the board came just four days after two horses died during training at the track.
Although Los Alamitos supporters, including horse owners, breeders, and trainers, expressed support of the one-year license, the board approval came with the caveat that CHRB could stop racing at any time.
“We have the authority to call a special meeting if we feel [that the Los Alamitos Race Course] is unsafe,” CHRB spokesperson Mike Marten told The Epoch Times. “It isn’t as if the board is powerless at this point.”
Don’t Stop Looking, a 3-year-old filly, and Noor Khan, a 4-year-old mare, died Jan. 17, according to an official statement on the CHRB website. Details of the deaths were not available.
At the embattled quarter horse and thoroughbred facility, at least 29press horses died from racing or training injuries last year.
“Two more young horses have lost their lives on Jan. 17 and this puts a damper on this whole argument that Los Alamitos should be granted a full year license,” horse advocate Heather Wilson said during public comments. “What are the outcomes of other investigations [into the deaths of other horses]? I don’t hear anything about them.”
The most latest licensing decision came after the board last December approved the facility for a six-month license. Track owner Eric Allred had been seeking a yearlong commitment, and said at the time he wouldn’t accept anything less.
“Don’t even bother,” Allred said during the December meeting. “We cannot conduct racing under these conditions.”
Allred had previously said that a year-long license is essential to allow those associated with racing to make long-term plans. He asked the board to issue a full-year license, and review it in six months if the track is flagged for wrongdoing.
“The most common argument in favor of the one-year license is that the track relies on the quarter horse owners to pay a pre-entry fee in order to make the horses eligible for later in the year,” Marten told The Epoch Times.
CHRB approved the license for Dec. 23 to Dec. 21, 2021 as the track had sought last month.