Draft Pick, who upset heavily-favored Solomini in the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes June 10, will try for his third consecutive victory in the $150,000-guaranteed Los Alamitos Derby Saturday.
Restricted to 3-year-olds and scheduled for 1 1/8 miles, the Grade 3 Los Alamitos Derby will go as the eighth of nine races. Post time Saturday is 1 p.m. PT. Scheduled post time for the main event is 4:28 p.m.
Owned by C R K Stable LLC and trained by Peter Eurton, Draft Pick, a son of Candy Ride and the Arch mare Firehouse Red, was defeated in the first five starts of his career before romping by 5 1/2 lengths vs. maidens May 12 at Santa Anita.
He returned five weeks later to win the Affirmed by 2 1/2 lengths, taking over in the stretch and stalking a slow pace. The back-to-back scores increased the $450,000 yearling purchase's bankroll to $112,080.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will be seeking a repeat in the Los Alamitos Derby when he sends out Ax Man and Once On Whiskey.
Baffert, who won the race a year ago with eventual 3-year-old champion West Coast, is hoping Ax Man, a Misremembered colt owned by breeders Patti and Hal Earnhardt III, can rebound from a subpar performance in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes June 16.
Out of the Flying Chevron mare Shameful, the bay finished a distant third as the 1-2 favorite at Churchill Downs four weeks after rolling to a 6 3/4-length score in the Sir Barton Stakes over a sloppy track on the Preakness Stakes undercard.
A winner of three of five starts, Ax Man has banked $147,900. A victory would be Baffert's third in the Derby since daytime Thoroughbred racing returned to Los Alamitos in 2014. Before West Coast he clicked with Gimme Da Lute in 2015.
Owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman, Once On Whiskey, a Bodemeister colt out of the Mineshaft mare Crespano, has one win in three starts and earnings of $50,300. This will be his first race past seven furlongs.
Trainer Doug O'Neill will be represented by Blended Citizen and King Cause.
Owned by Greg Hall and SAYJAY Racing LLC, Blended Citizen, a Proud Citizen colt out of the Langfuhr mare Langara Lass, has three wins in 11 attempts and a bankroll of $406,854.
The $85,000 2-year-old purchase is already a double Grade III winner, capturing the Jeff Ruby over the synthetic surface at Turfway Park March 17 about two months before winning the Peter Pan at Belmont Park. Both of those stakes successes came at nine furlongs.
Fifth – beaten 10 lengths by Draft Pick – in the Affirmed, King Cause is 1-for-5 for Kramer Racing, Nice Guys Stables and Steven Keh. The Creative Cause gelding out of the Street Cry mare Street Mate has earned $43,225.
From inside out, the field for the 5th Los Alamitos Derby: Draft Pick, Joe Talamo rides, 122 pounds; Blended Citizen, Kyle Frey, 122; Ax Man, Drayden Van Dyke, 122; Once On Whiskey, Flavien Prat, 122 and King Cause, Evin Roman, 122.
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