CYPRESS, CA – In what essentially amounted to a paid workout, Gary and Mary West’s Game Winner galloped to an ultra-easy score in Saturday’s $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby (G3).
Breaking from the rail under Joel Rosario as the 1/20 “slight” betting favorite, Game Winner watched from third as his Bob Baffert stablemate Kingly posted opening fractions of :24.88 and :49.25. The maiden Parsimony took over early in the far turn, but the juvenile champion’s class proved its power when he effortlessly glided three-wide past Parsimony midway through it.
Taking over easily in the stretch, the Bob Baffert-trained Game Winner galloped away to win the 1 1/8-mile event over the fast main track by 5 easy lengths in a final time of 1:48.30.
“He broke perfectly and I just wanted him to settle and be happy,” Rosario said. “We had to move a little early when (Feeling Strong) came up on our outside. He was always there for me and was very strong at the end.”
Parsimony was 4 lengths clear of Kingly, who was 3/4 of a length ahead of a non-threatening Feeling Strong to complete the order of finish.
Game Winner’s win was his first of the year and improved his overall record to 8-5-2-0 with $2,027,500 earned. The 3-year-old son of Candy Ride, absent since finishing fifth in the Kentucky Derby (G1), is scheduled to make his next appearance in the Travers Stakes (G1) at Saratoga on August 24.
“I think this was a perfect race for him,” Baffert said. “I put the blinkers back on him because I wanted him to get a little bit more focused leaving the gate and into the race a little bit more. He was falling back a little too far. He had worked exceptionally well coming into this. I think that break really helped him. I love the way he finished the last 1/8 of a mile. I told (Rosario) to give him an easy out, but try to get something out of the race and have a little foundation.”
Game Winner returned $2.10 to win. There was no place or show betting.