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AQHA and Los Alamitos Agree to Multi-Year MBNA America Challenge

27 February 2001

AMARILLO, Texas – (Press Release) --Feb. 27, 2001 –The MBNA America Challenge Championships will be run at Los Alamitos through 2005 and beyond according to terms of an agreement reached with AQHA, Los Alamitos Race Course and the Pacific Coast Quarter Horse Racing Association.

Edward C. Allred, Los Alamitos Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, met with AQHA Executive Committee member Frank "Scoop" Vessels and AQHA Executive Director of Racing Dan Fick to negotiate a return of the event to Southern California for the foreseeable future. PCQHRA President and AQHA Racing Council member Dominic "Bud" Alessio played an integral part in the agreement that sets a timetable for future event agreements.

Details of the agreement specify that the event will be hosted by Los Alamitos in 2001, 2003, and 2005 and also provides for privileged, good faith negotiations between AQHA, Los Alamitos and PCQHRA to host the event in subsequent odd numbered years, indefinitely.

The MBNA America Challenge Championships will be conducted at Los Alamitos Race Course on October 20, 2001, in conjunction with the AQHA Racing Conference in Anaheim, California. This will mark the fourth time the event has been held at Los Alamitos since its inception in 1993. In 1999, Los Alamitos and its simulcast outlets handled an event record $2,020,001.

"We are pleased and honored to be the host of the MBNA Challenge Championships for the next few years," said Allred. "The event has become a highlight of the American Quarter Horse racing season and has been one of our best days each year we've run it."

"Our horsemen benefit from having it here and so does AQHA," added Allred. "We are hopeful that by hosting the event we are adding some value to the MBNA America sponsorship as well."

Los Alamitos and PCQHRA have together committed $200,000 towards the championship purse for a number of years. The purse contribution represents a 12% increase from previous years at Los Alamitos. Purse contributions to the six California Regional MBNA races from the Los Alamitos purse account have also been secured through 2003. Future purse negotiations will take place two years in advance of the next scheduled event, according to the agreement.

Additionally, the winner of the MBNA Challenge Championship has been guaranteed a starting berth in the prestigious Champion of Champions (G1) each year through the term of the agreement.

"Los Alamitos Race Course is a tremendous facility for holding the MBNA Challenge Championships," said Fick. "Their staff has done a terrific job every time they have been our hosts."

"They make it a spectacular event for our horsemen, racing fans, corporate partners and membership from across North America," added Fick. "Given Dr. Allred's lifetime commitment to American Quarter Horse racing, and now his making Los Alamitos the focal point for our sport with a year-around racing schedule, AQHA's leadership welcomed a long-term relationship."

The MBNA America Quarter Horse Racing Challenge is a $4.1 million purse and bonus awards program with a series of 69 races that take place in 10 regions across the United States, Canada and Mexico each year. American Quarter Horses compete in one of six different types of races, depending on their age and ability.

The season ending championship is conducted with a total of six championship events and seven undercard races. A total of 60% of the added money is generated from AQHA corporate partners and host racetracks.

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