By Michael Patricks
Short and sweet this weekend as racing continues its brief summertime lull before kicking up in full swing with Del Mar and Saratoga commencing next week. I’ll be at Del Mar next Friday to take in the sights and sounds from where the turf meets the surf but will make sure to put the weekend Blog out on Thursday afternoon sometime to keep up with weekly precedent.
CHRB has conditionally granted Golden Gate Fields their late summer dates. There has been quite a bit of strife and infighting from the various factions involved in northern California horse racing. For more on the details coming out of Thursday’s meeting at Los Alamitos Race Course, see here: https://www.bloodhorse.com/horse-racing/articles/228513/compromise-ensures-golden-gate-late-summer-dates
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Tapwrit was rather ordinary with his performance in the Suburban while Diversify was quite extraordinary. The New York-bred earned a career best 110 Beyer figure while trouncing his rivals by six-and-a-half lengths. We will see if Diversify can continue trending in the right direction as he starts his march to the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs in November.
I’ll turn the page with an opinion on the Los Alamitos Derby on Saturday, which serves as their meet’s headliner.
Los Alamitos Race Course-Race 8
The Los Alamitos Derby (Grade III)
1 & 1/8 Miles on Dirt for 3 Y/O
4:28 PM PST
1-Draft Pick 3/1 ML– If we can actually get 3/1 with him, then I say you should run up there to bet Draft Pick with both fists, but make sure to stretch out first so as not to pull anything while in transit to the window. I understand that he’s 0-for-2 at Los Al, but it’s not like he was getting trounced over the surface earlier in his career and he’s really come to hand in last couple races. The fact he’s been able to stalk and pounce while opening up daylight victories on a Santa Anita surface which was really kind to front runners late into the spring tells me he’s going great guns. Should sit a nice trip from the inside and make his move on Ax Man at the key moment; he’s our guy.
2-Blended Citizen 9/5 ML– Look, he’s been facing better runners with mixed results and has a huge foundation under him which means getting the nine furlongs will be no problem at all. His best chance is if Talamo or Roman get overanxious on their charges and set up an unrealistic tempo chasing Ax Man which allows him to capitalize. Yes, he will be ranging in from the back, but the myth of the long stretch aiding closers might be on display in this spot and given his short number in a similarly short field, I’d advise you to try and beat him at this price.
3-Ax Man 6/5 ML– Apparently had a pretty big meltdown in the Churchill paddock and once again on the track of the Matt Winn and ran like his head wasn’t in the game. Ax Man is back in California where’s performed well and supporting articles to this race suggest he’s training forwardly. The race goes through reeling him in if you want the glory and so tactically you want to be near him when he has a possible moment of vulnerability. Van Dyke opts to stay at the controls over Once on Whiskey; the one they have to chop down.
4-Once On Whiskey 6/1 ML– X-factor makes his two turn debut for Baffert. He’s demonstrated nice talent and raw ability but I wonder about his worthiness on Saturday as a sprinter stretching out when his stable mate Ax Man is 1/5 to be occupying the front end after the first quarter-mile. Perhaps he will go out and try to ride police and keep Draft Pick bottled up down along the inside, that’s definitely possible from a tactical perspective. If he’s potent enough to take down a nine furlong race in his first start in 60 days while stepping up into graded-stakes company in the process, he can have my money.
5-King Cause 15/1 ML– Only beat one runner in home in both the Laz Barrera and Affirmed, each Grade III events. Frey departs for Blended Citizen and ‘King was no match for Draft Pick last time out. Lifetime number is a 76 and it should take something in the mid-90s to win this race. You’ll get a great number if you’re a believer, but I’m simply not willing to go down this road.