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CYPRESS, CA – At the moment still the lone track permitted to operate live horse racing in the state of California, Los Alamitos has released the stakes schedule for its 2020 Summer Thoroughbred Festival that will run from June 26 through July 5.
Three stakes races offering a total of $450,000 in purses will be made available over the course of the two-week meet. The richest of the trio is the $200,000 Great Lady M (G2), a 6 1/2-furlong sprint for fillies and mares. Marley’s Freedom ended her career winning it for the second straight time last year, which was also trainer Bob Baffert’s record fifth victory in the race.
Baffert is no stranger to winning the summer meet’s other graded stakes event, either. The Hall of Fame conditioner has taken four of the last five editions of the $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby (G3), a 9-furlong race for 3-year-olds scheduled for the same July 4 card as the Great Lady M.
Though no official word has been given yet, there is speculation that the Los Alamitos Derby could award its top four finishers with points toward the Kentucky Derby (G1) in September. This unique precedent was set earlier this week when Churchill Downs’ Matt Winn Stakes (G3) was announced as a minor prep for the first time, giving out points on a 10-4-2-1 basis.
The third stakes on the summer meet slate, a mile-long event for California-bred is equal parts familiar and new. Previously known as the Bertrando Stakes (after the three-time California Horse of the Year), the race will run on June 27 as the $100,000 Soi Phet Stakes.
The name change honors the California-bred gelding who earned nearly $1 million after trainer Leonard Powell claimed him for just $16,000. Soi Phet twice won the race now carrying his name, in 2014 and 2018, along with three other stakes over the Orange County course. He retired after finishing sixth in last summer’s Bertrando.
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