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Thousand Words and Uncle Chuck will battle for Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who will try to win the Los Alamitos Derby for a fourth consecutive year Saturday, July 4 at Los Alamitos Race Course.
The Grade III, $150,000-guaranteed Los Alamitos Derby, which is for 3-year-olds at 1 1/8 miles, is part of a stakes doubleheader on the next-to-last day of the Summer Thoroughbred Festival. Bellafina, a seven-time graded stakes winner, tops the field of older fillies and mares in the Grade II, $200,000-guaranteed Great Lady M at 6 ½ furlongs. Post time Saturday is 1 p.m.
The Los Alamitos Derby will go as race six and has a scheduled post time of 3:28 p.m. PDT while the Great Lady M. will be the eighth of nine races and is scheduled for 4:28 p.m.
Race 6 at Los Alamitos Race Course on Saturday, July 04 - Post 6:28 PM
Baffert, whose Los Alamitos Derby win streak commenced with eventual 3-year-old champion West Coast in 2017 then continued with Once On Whiskey (2018) and Game Winner a year ago, will be seeking his fifth win in the contest since daytime thoroughbred racing returned to Los Alamitos in 2014. He also won with Gimme Da Lute in 2015.
With the postponement of the Kentucky Derby from May 2 until Sept. 5 due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Los Alamitos Derby is part of the "Road to the Kentucky Derby'' this year. The winner of the local Derby will receive 20 points towards earning a berth in the starting gate the first Saturday of September. The runner-up will receive eight points, the third place finisher four and the fourth place finisher two.
A son of Pioneerof the Nile and the Pomeroy mare Pomeroys Pistol, Thousand Words will try to become the first horse to win both the Los Alamitos Futurity and Derby. Shared Belief won the final running of the CashCall Futurity at Hollywood Park in 2013 and the inaugural running of the Los Alamitos Derby the following year.
Owned by Albaugh Family Stables LLC and Spendthrift Farm LLC, Thousand Words hasn't been out since finishing far back over a sloppy track as the 5-2 favorite in the Oaklawn Stakes April 11 in Arkansas. He's won three of five and earned $235,500.
An Uncle Mo colt out of the Unbridled's Song mare Forest Music, Uncle Chuck was an impressive first out winner June 12. He went gate-to-wire against four opponents in the race at one mile, cruising to a seven length victory for owners Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman. The win was worth $30,000 for Uncle Chuck, a $250,000 purchase at the Keeneland September sale in 2018.
Defeated a neck by Thousand Words in the Grade II Los Alamitos Futurity in his final start as a 2-year-old, Anneau d'Or will be seeking his first win of 2020 for Peter Redekop B.C. Ltd. and trainer Blaine Wright.
The Medaglia d'Oro colt out of the Tapit mare Walk Close was most recently fourth in the Grade I Santa Anita Derby June 6, finishing nearly six lengths behind winner Honor A.P.
He's 1-for-6 in his career with a bankroll of $442,000.
Great Power will race for the first time since finishing a distant third behind Charlatan at one mile March 14.
Trained by Simon Callaghan for JSM Equine LLC, Qatar Racing Limited and breeder Lakland Farm, the Blame colt out of the Unbridled's Song mare Lifeinthefastlane was a first out winner going short last Sept. 29. He earned $36,840 in his two starts.
A five-start maiden, Cosmo will make his first afternoon appearance on a surface other than turf for Hall of Fame trainer Neil Drysdale.
Owned by Edward Hudson, Jr. and Lynne Hudson, the Distorted Humor colt out of the Grand Slam mare Sky Glow has banked $18,500 while hitting the board twice. In his most recent start at one mile, Cosmo was third, three-quarters of a length behind favored winner Tiberius Mercurius June 19.
From the inside out, the field for the Los Alamitos Derby: Cosmo, Abel Cedillo rides, 122 pounds; Great Power, Drayden Van Dyke, 122; Thousand Words, Flavien Prat, Uncle Chuck, Luis Saez, 122 and Anneau d'Or, Victor Espinoza, 122.
In the Great Lady M., Bellafina will return to Los Alamitos for the first time since she finished second in her career debut two years ago to the day. The daughter of Quality Road finished 1 ¼ lengths behind Katieleigh as the 1-2 choice July 4, 2018.
Since that defeat, Bellafina, who is owned by Kaleem Shah, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael B. Tabor and Derrick Smith and trained by Simon Callaghan, has won half of her 14 starts and earned $1,512,975.
She ended a six-race losing streak with a one-length score in the Grade III Desert Stormer May 17.
Sneaking Out returns to California after going 1-for-2 on the road to begin her 2020 campaign for owner-breeder KMN Racing LLC and Hall of Fame trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
The 4-year-old Indian Evening filly out of the Kitten's Joy mare Maddie's Odyssey won as the favorite April 25 at Oaklawn Park before finishing fifth of eighth in the Grade III Winning Colors May 30 at Churchill Downs.
The California bred has won four of 10 lifetime and earned $311,441.
Amuse cuts back in distance and goes turf to dirt in her second of the year for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella after finishing third in an optional claimer at one mile June 14.
The 5-year-old Medaglia d'Oro mare showed the way before weakening in the final eighth of a mile in her first start in more than 14 months.
Owned by a partnership that includes Claiborne Farm, Perry Bass II, Ramona Bass and Adele Dilschneider, Amuse has won two of six and earned $85,511.
Runner-up to Bellafina when nearly 43-1 in the Desert Stormer, Hang a Star will be seeking her third lifetime win in the Great Lady M.
Owned by the same owner-trainer combination - Seltzer Thoroughbreds and Ian Kruljac - that won this race in 2016 with eventual female sprint champion Finest City, Hang a Star has banked $108,311 in seven starts. She is a daughter of Tapizar and the Vindication mare Homecoming Dance.
Zusha will shorten up for her first race since finishing a distant fifth in the Grade I Beholder Mile March 14.
Trained by Gary Mandella for Rafael Steinbruch, the 5-year-old daughter of Congrats and the Storm Cat mare Icy Tea has won two of 20 and banked $218,893. In her lone start at Los Alamitos, Zusha finished second behind Queen Bee to You in the Grade III Bayakoa last Dec. 8.
Fifth after disputing the pace in the Desert Stormer, Artistic Diva will try to stay perfect at Los Alamitos for Hronis Racing LLC and trainer Juan Leyva.
The lightly-raced 5-year-old Munnings mare was a gate-to-wire winner in her local debut last Sept. 13. She's won half of her six starts and earned $143,450.
Winless in five starts in 2020, Donut Girl will step into graded company for the first time after finishing fourth of nine in an optional claimer on turf June 19.
A $20,000 claim by owner-trainer Brian Cunningham May 16, the 5-year-old Smiling Tiger mare out of the Any Given Saturday mare Saturday's Girl has won four of 21 and earned $170,582. She has won locally, scoring a come-from-behind win over a wet fast surface during the 2019 Winter meet when trained by Matt Chew.
From inside out, the field for the Great Lady M. Stakes: Bellafina, Flavien Prat rides, 124 pounds; Artistic Diva, Victor Espinoza, 119; Sneaking Out, Martin Garcia, 119; Donut Girl, Geovanni Franco, 119; Hang a Star, Umberto Rispoli, 119; Amuse, Drayden Van Dyke, 119 and Zusha, Tiago Pereira, 119.
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