FAVORED WEST COAST POWERS HOME TO WIN

GRADE III LOS ALAMITOS DERBY

         Another trip to the East Coast could be next for West Coast after the heavily-favored son of Flatter rallied late to win the Grade III, $200,690 Los Alamitos Derby Saturday.

Patiently ridden by jockey Drayden Van Dyke, West Coast, the 2-5 choice, accelerated when given his cue early in the long stretch and went on to prevail by 2 ¾ lengths in his first venture at 1 1/8 miles.

Owned by Gary and Mary West and trained by Hall of Famer Bob Baffert, the $425,000 yearling purchase earned his fourth win in six starts and the $120,000 payday pushed his earnings to $323,800.

No worse than second in his career, West Coast completed the nine furlongs in 1:48.65 and returned $2.80, $2.20 and $2.10.

Baffert, who also won the 2015 Los Alamitos Derby with Gimme Da Lute, indicated in the aftermath that West Coast may be headed back to New York for a start in the Grade I, $1.25 million Travers Aug. 26 at Saratoga.

Prior to his victory Saturday, West Coast had been an impressive winner of the Easy Goer on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 10 at Belmont Park.

 

ROMAN, VICTORIES BY SKYE DIAMONDS, WEST COAST HIGHLIGHT SUMMER MEET

      Impressive graded stakes victories by Skye Diamonds (photo) and West Coast, the continued emergence of apprentice jockey Evin Roman and a spectacular debut by the well-regarded 2-year-old Zulfikhar highlighted Los Alamitos’ Summer Thoroughbred Festival.

The eight-day season concluded Sunday, wrapping the first of three daytime meets in 2017 at Los Alamitos.

A $40,000 claim by trainer Bill Spawr nearly one year ago for a partnership that includes Tom Acker, Allen Racing LLC and Bloom Racing Stables LLC, Skye Diamonds became a Grade II winner in the $200,690 Great Lady M. Stakes July 8, defeating a field that included 2016 Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Sprint and Eclipse Award winner Finest City and Grade I winner Constellation.

One week later, West Coast powered away late to capture the Grade III, $200,690 Los Alamitos Derby, giving Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert his second win in the race in four years.

Baffert, who won the 2015 renewal with Gimme Da Lute, indicated West Coast, a son of Flatter owned by Gary and Mary West, could make his next start in the Grade I, $1.25 million Travers Stakes Aug. 26 at Saratoga.

The Los Alamitos Derby victory was the fourth win in six starts for the improving 3-year-old, who has already shown he can perform on the road. The $425,000 yearling purchase missed by a head in the Grade III Lexington April 15 at Keeneland before an easy win in the Easy Goer on the Belmont Stakes undercard June 10 at Belmont Park.

Fresh off tying Flavien Prat for the riding title at Santa Anita’s Spring meet, Roman easily captured the crown at Los Alamitos. The 19-year-old native of Puerto Rico finished with a record 13 wins, eight more than runner-up Mario Gutierrez.

The victory total surpassed the previous best for wins during an eight-day season since thoroughbred racing returned to Los Alamitos in July, 2014. Drayden Van Dyke won 12 races at the 2014 Summer Thoroughbred Festival.

Doug O’Neill topped the trainer standings with six wins, two more than Baffert, while J. Paul Reddam’s Reddam Racing LLC was the top owner with a half-dozen victories.

 The title was the sixth O’Neill has either shared or captured outright at Los Alamitos.

Purchased for $750,000 at the Fasig-Tipton Gulfstream sale in March, Zulfikhar, a son of Bodemeister, won by 3 ¾ lengths in his July 7 debut, completing five furlongs in 56.73 seconds.

Trained by Baffert for Sheikh Mohammed bin Khalifa al Maktoum. Zulfikhar could surface in the Grade II, $200,000 Best Pal Stakes Aug. 12 at Del Mar.

The total handle for the meet was approximately $40.3 million. There was no July meet in 2016 for comparison as Los Alamitos conducted a Spring meet (April 14-May 1) last year.

More complete business figures will be available later in the week.

 “We’re happy with the continued safety of our main track and there were some outstanding performances by some quality horses,’’ said Orlando Gutierrez, Los Alamitos’ director of publicity and marketing. “Skye Diamonds and West Coast were impressive and Evin Roman adapted extremely well in his first experience at Los Alamitos.’’

Thoroughbred racing will return to Los Alamitos in September.  The 12-day season will begin Thursday, Sept. 7 and continue through Sunday, Sept. 24. Racing will be conducted on a Thursday-Sunday basis.

                        

FOUR STAKES TO BE OFFERED DURING

LOS ANGELES COUNTY FAIR MEET AT LOS ALAMITOS

      Four stakes worth a guaranteed total of $350,000 will be offered during the upcoming Los Angeles County Fair at Los Alamitos meet.

The 12-day season will begin Thursday, Sept. 7 and continue through Sunday, Sept. 24. Racing will be conducted on a Thursday-Sunday basis.

A stakes doubleheader will be presented Saturday, Sept. 9. Three-year-old fillies will run six furlongs in the $75,000-guaranteed Beverly J. Lewis and 3-year-olds & up either bred or sired in California will compete in the $75,000-guaranteed E.B. Johnston at one mile.

The final two Saturdays of the season will feature the $100,000-guaranteed Barretts Debutante for 2-year-old fillies Sept. 16 and the $100,000-guaranteed Barretts Juvenile for colts & geldings Sept. 23. Both races are at 6 ½ furlongs and restricted to horses offered at any Barretts sale.

The complete stakes schedule:

Date                           Race                                  Distance                                Purse

Saturday, Sept. 9     Beverly J. Lewis Stakes           Six Furlongs                        $75,000

                                    3-Year-Old Fillies

Saturday, Sept. 9      E.B. Johnston Stakes              One Mile                             $75,000

                                    3-Year-Olds & Up

                                  (California bred or sired)

Saturday, Sept. 16   Barretts Debutante                 Six & One Half Furlongs       $100,000

                                    2-Year-Old Fillies

                                   (Offered at any Barretts sale)

Saturday, Sept. 23  Barretts Juvenile                    Six & One Half Furlongs        $100,000

                                   2-Year-Olds

                                   (Offered at any Barretts sale)                                                                                                   

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