Gimme Da Lute found the wire just in time, holding off a late-charging Prospect Park by a nostril to win the Grade 2, $350,000 Los Alamitos Derby Saturday. Odds-on favorite Kentuckian led throughout but faded at the top of the stretch to finish a distant third.
Winner of the G3 Affirmed Stakes last out, Gimme Da Lute stalked the pace in second and pounced on the far turn under jockey Martin Garcia, leading them into the stretch. He was challenged by Prospect Park to his outside but ran on strongly to take the race.
“He's just getting better and better and Mr. (trainer) Bob (Baffert) told me to ride him with confidence. He relaxed nicely and fought it out gamely,” said Garcia.
Final time for the mile and an eighth was 1:47.09.
Bob Baffert trains Gimme Da Lute for owners-breeders Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman. Sired by Midnight Lute out of the Proud Citizen mare Casino Gold, Gimme Da Lute now has four wins in seven starts.
“After he won the (Grade III) Affirmed (Stakes June 7) I could tell that he was craving more distance,” said Baffert. “He's getting better and better and (jockey) Martin (Garcia) rode him flawlessly today. I'm glad to be back here at Los Alamitos where it all started and winning this race means a lot to me.
“This horse had been working really well, so we were confident, but we just didn't know what (Kentuckian) was going to do because you never know how they're going to react when you stretch them out.''
Kentuckian came into the Los Alamitos Derby after a victory by more than six lengths in the G3 Laz Barrera May 10.
“I'm usually not at a loss for words, but I'm in shock right now,” said Mike Smith, who rode the favorite.
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