Jump to: navigation, search

Los Alamitos Race Course

Horse Race Track

Los Alamitos Race Course

Location Cypress, California
Owned by Ed Allred
Date opened 1951
Race type Thoroughbred, quarter horse
Website [1]

Principal Races

Champion of Champions

Los Alamitos $2 Million Futurity

Ed Burke Memorial Futurity

Kindergarten Futurity

Golden State Million Futurity

Mildred Vessels Memorial

Los Alamitos Super Derby

Los Alamitos Race Course is a horse racing track in Cypress, California[1]. The track hosts both thoroughbred and quarter horse racing. The track has the distinction of holding four quarter horse stakes races with purses over $1 million, more than any other track in the United States.


Early history

Arriving from Kentucky with only $19 to his name, Frank Vessels Sr. built a fortune in the construction industry, and eventually purchased a 435-acre ranch in Orange County. Racing at what is today Los Alamitos started off as match races contested on the Vessels Ranch in 1947.

The first pari-mutual meet at Los Alamitos was held in 1951. The meet lasted 11 days, closing on 15 December. It rained for ten of the eleven days of the inaugural meet. Frank Vessels and his family spent many hours during this first meet repairing rain-induced damage to the racecourse. The closing night festivities featured a world record performance by the mare Bart B S in the Miss Princess Handicap. She covered the 400 yards in a time of :20.3.

Following the first meet, Mr. Vessels sank $100,000 of his personal funds into improvements at the track and lobbied the California Horse Racing Board for a total of 16 days of racing, which he was granted. The 1952 season saw financial success as business doubled over the initial meet.

Go Man Go

The 1955 season saw the first true superstar of Los Alamitos. A coon-tailed, roan quarter horse with a distinctive look and noticeable personality, the popularity of Go Man Go was such that huge crowds would pack the grandstands and chant the roan colt's name as he notched victory after victory.

Ed Allred

Dr. Ed Allred's first appearance as a law student at Los Alamitos was an unheralded event. He was only at the track because he had read that the Allred Brothers (who were no relations) were racing a horse at Los Alamitos. This one day started a life long love affair that would eventually see Mr. Allred as the sole owner of Los Alamitos.

Until the 1990s, the Vessels Family had always owned Los Alamitos. However, the 1980s proved a time of great change, as the track passed from one owner to another. Finally, When Los Alamitos was put up for sale in 1990, Allred was able to acquire 50 per cent ownership, with help from RD Hubbard. 1995 saw the opening of the $5 million Vessels Club, the lavish turf club restaurant which has gained fame for the decor and food alike. The Vessels Club has even been named the top sports park restaurant in Southern California. In addition to the Vessels Club, the track has also opened such fan favorites as the Player's Club, Rodney's Bar (named after trainer Rodney Hart) and Schwanie's Grill (named for trainer Blane Schvaneveldt) under Dr. Allred's tenure.

1995 also saw the beginnings of the Los Alamitos $2 Million, a championship race for two year olds. The 2008 running was the richest non-Breeder's Cup race ever contested in California with a purse of $2,038,250. It is also the only quarter horse race in the country with a guaranteed $2,000,000 purse. Los Alamitos also offers the richest three year old quarter horse race in the country, the Los Alamitos Super Derby.




Premier Equine Classifieds


Subscribe to our newsletter and keep abreast of the latest news, articles and information delivered directly to your inbox.

Did You Know?

Modern horse breeds developed in response to a need for "form to function", the necessity to develop certain physical characteristics in order to perform a certain type of work... More...

The Gypsy Cob was originally bred to be a wagon horse and pulled wagons or caravans known as Vardos; a type of covered wagon that people lived in... More...

Archaeological evidence indicates that the Arabian horse bloodline dates back 4,500 years. Throughout history, Arabian horses spread around the world by both war and trade.... More...

That the term "Sporthorse" is a term used to describe a type of horse rather than any particular breed... More...