Los Alamitos Race Course: The GIII, $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby at 1 1/8 miles (Kentucky Derby qualifying points: 20-8-4-2)
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Like Jerry saying “The mail on Sunday?” we say “A Kentucky Derby prep on the 4th of July?” Welp, yes, indeed, as California joins the party with a small but talented five-pack looking to show that they belong in the national conversation. It looks like Breeders’ Cup Juvenile runner-up #5 ANNEAU D’OR (3-1) has gotten back on the beam after no-show trips to New Orleans and Hot Springs, as that relatively close fourth to a pair of heavyweights in the GI Santa Anita Derby last time stamps this son of Medaglia d’Oro as arguably the horse to beat for Wright, especially since he has a big second over the track in the GII Los Alamitos Futurity last December and this outside attack post that should have him just off the early lead. That position will undoubtedly go to #4 UNCLE CHUCK (6-5), who could be the fourth horse of a lifetime this year for Baffert, as this Uncle Mo colt wowed them on debut at Santa Anita going a two-turn mile in fast time, though this is a big ask to stretch out another furlong, especially with an experienced and talented rival like the pick shadowing you the entire way. There’s a world of upside to #2 GREAT POWER (6-1), last seen running a distant third to Charlatan in his first try against winners and at two turns in an SA AOC in March, and if the top two get into a tussle early, this son of Blame could be the prime beneficiary for Callaghan, who has taken his time here, which could pay dividends today. Tread lightly with #3 THOUSAND WORDS (9-5), once considered one of Baffert’s top prospects, since he’s come unglued in his last two and doesn’t look anything like the colt who beat ‘d’Or in the Los Alamitos Futurity, so until this son of Pioneerof the Nile rebounds, let’s play against him.
#5 Anneau d’Or
#4 Uncle Chuck
#2 Great Power
#3 Thousand Words
Photo: Adam Carter via Flickr. Used with permission.