Horses isolated, but they’re still running at Los Alamitos Race Track

Horse and rider. Photo by Scott Martinez

Moved online years ago

While many local businesses reluctantly ground to a halt this week to protect public health, the horses at Santa Anita and Los Alamitos Race Track were still running this week.

Although there were a few personnel present, general manager Orlando Gutierrez said the race course is network through a national clearinghouse so that viewers and bettors around the nation can view the races.

Gutierrez said no fans were allowed, no owners are allowed onto the premises, just the jockeys, trainers and a network technician.

“We are adhering to all of the Orange County Health Department rules,” he said, adding that even the radio announcer, who calls the races, was working remotely at home.

Many years ago, the horse racing industry began to move onto the internet and is today connected by a series of sophisticated networks and computers that allows fans to watch and bet on races around the country. The wagers are taken remotely by computer and cleared electronically.

When fans are in the stands, the race course does have the ability to settle local wagers locally but the online system comes in handy, especially in times like these.

Gutierrez said not all tracks are operating in the U.S., but many of them are.

Jockeys are not allowed contact with the trainers and must leave immediately after they race, he said.

With a skeleton crew operating the massive facility, Gutierrez said is literally hundreds of feet between the handful of technicians it takes to operate.

Both Santa Anita and Los Alamitos Race Track were given approvals to operate by the California Horse Racing Board, according to the L.A. Times.