Better late than never my piece on Californian racecourse Los Alamitos. Not too long ago I had the chance to visit this racetrack located in Orange County, in the outskirts of Los Angeles.
Truth told I never was US racing’s biggest fan – and maybe never will. It probably doesn’t help that my visits to the racetracks of Aqueduct in New York and Golden Gate Fields in San Francisco turned out to be rather bleak and dreary affairs. Those huge places, with the appearance of ghost towns, a couple of hundred souls spread across the stands – it was sad to see.
So far so bad – but stay with me – this is not another “Europeans bashing US racing piece”.
When I turned into the parking lot of Los Alamitos racecourse my expectations were clearly low. It was a mild winter day, mild for Californian standard, piping hot if you live in Ireland.That clearly helped to lift the initial mood, whatever happens next.
Now, let me write the most important sentence right here: Los Alamitos rocks. It really does. Okay, it might be easy to exceed expectations if there are none, but seriously, this place just works.
The beautiful historic grand stand with three levels, fine seating and viewing, is not dramatically oversized as I found it to be the case at Aqeduct. It’s certainly not small, but not overwhelmingly huge either, no danger getting lost inside as it can easily happen at Golden Gate Fields.
What is most important: you’re close to the horses. Saddling area, parade ring, track… all close, easily accessible. So let me use one word to describe this racecourse – and I wouldn’t have thought to ever use this word to describe a US track: beautiful.
Los Alamitos is beautiful. A place where racing comes alive. There was a “feel good” atmosphere in the air, everyone’s relaxing, enjoying a fine day out and – last but not least – watching an exciting sport. I loved it.
But let the photos speak for itself: