Los Alamitos Derby 2018: Full-field odds and analysis

July 11, 2018 05:29pm
Ax Man works at Santa Anita Park
Photo: Zoe Metz Photography

The Grade 3, $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby will be run for the fifth time Saturday, July 14, with a field of five led by Bob Baffert-trained Ax Man and Doug O’Neill-trained Blended Citizen. 

Post time is 7:28 p.m. ET as Race 8 of 9 on the card in California.

The Los Alamitos Derby has seen all four of its previous heroes – Shared Belief, Gimme Da Lute, Accelerate and West Coast – turn into multiple graded stakes winners, with all but Gimme Da Lute winning multiple Grade 1s. It was a Grade 2 its first three runs but downgraded last year to the current level.

Baffert conditioned both Gimme Da Lute and West Coast. The Hall of Famer will be seeking his third Los Alamitos Derby victory with Ax Man and Once on Whiskey.

A look at the race is below with early morning line odds from Horse Racing Nation:

1. Draft Pick, 3-1
 (Candy Ride – Peter Eurton/Joe Talamo – 7:2-0-2 – $112,080): It may have taken this $450,000 yearling purchase six races to break his maiden, but he was quick to win the Grade 3 Affirmed Stakes after doing so. Coming from off the pace in both wins, Draft Pick drew off to break his maiden by 5 ½ lengths at 1 1/16 miles before winning the Affirmed by 2 ½ at the same distance. Chance to improve again.

2. Blended Citizen, 8-5
 (Proud Citizen – Doug O’Neill/Kyle Frey – 11:3-0-2 – $406,854): Already a two-time graded stakes winner, Blended Citizen looks to rebound from a ninth-place run behind Justify in the Belmont Stakes. He won the local prep for the Belmont, the Grade 3 Peter Pan, and also won the Grade 3 Jeff Ruby Stakes, a Kentucky Derby prep, albeit over Turfway Park's synthetic. Brings experience to Los Al.

3. Ax Man, 3-2
 (Misremembered – Bob Baffert/Drayden Van Dyke – 5:3-0-1 – $147,900): Ax Man was a sparkling debut winner by 9 ½ lengths New Year's Day, won an allowance by 8 ½ this spring and picked up his first stakes victory in Pimlico’s Sir Barton Stakes 6 ¾ lengths in front. He’s faded in two races, but if he brings his A game, he’ll be hard to beat. Following his show finishing in the Grade 3 Matt Winn, Baffert stretched the colt out in two six-furlong works and, five days from the race, Ax Man completed a five-furlong drill in a minute flat. When he’s good, he’s good.

4. Once On Whiskey, 8-1
 (Bodemeister – Bob Baffert/Flavien Prat – 3:1-1-1 – $50,300): Once On Whiskey will be making his first start since Derby weekend, when he was third in a Churchill Downs allowance race. The lightly-raced colt has a maiden win to his name. In his second start, Once On Whiskey rallied from last and drew off to win by 2 ¾ lengths going seven furlongs at Santa Anita. The Los Alamitos Derby represents his first time stretching out beyond that distance. Wild card from the Baffert barn.

5. King Cause, 20-1
 (Creative Cause – Doug O’Neill/Rafael Bejarano – 5:1-0-1 – $43,225): This maiden winner has not had success yet in California stakes company, finishing fifth in both the Grade 3 Lazaro Barrera and Grade 3 Affirmed. His maiden win came at 6 ½ furlongs on the dirt, where he rallied from mid-pack to win by three-quarters of a length.Runs into tough competition here.

Ax Man and Blended Citizen are the two to beat if both run their races, and this short a field should be to their advantage even if they’re a tick off their best. Draft Pick looks like a possible upset contender if he holds to his recent form, but it will hard to catch Ax Man on a good day.


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