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    Horse racing notes: Sweet Azteca is front-running favorite at Los Alamitos
    • July 4, 2024


    (Thoroughbred meet, through Sunday)

    Jockeys / Wins

    Kyle Frey / 5

    Edwin Maldonado / 4

    Edgar Payeras / 3

    Umberto Rispoli / 2

    Antonio Fresu / 2

    Cesar Ortega / 2

    Tiago Pereira / 2

    Armando Ayuso / 2

    Jeremy Laprida / 2

    Diego Herrera / 2

    Trainers / Wins

    Sergio Morfin / 4

    Doug O’Neill / 3

    Bob Baffert / 3

    Jorge Periban / 3

    Steve Knapp / 3

    Peter Eurton / 2

    Peter Miller / 2




    • $200,000, Grade II Great Lady M Stakes, fillies and mares, 3-year-olds and up, 6½ furlongs


    • $150,000, Grade 1 Vessels Maturity, quarter horses, 4-year-olds and up, 400 yards

    • $30,000 Independence Day Handicap, quarter horses, 3-year-olds and up, 300 yards


    • Los Alamitos’ thoroughbred season concludes with a Thursday-to-Sunday racing week featuring the strongest stakes of the meet. The Great Lady M on Saturday will see front-running Sweet Azteca (Juan Hernandez riding) try to build on her Grade I Beholder Mile upset as she faces Michael McCarthy stablemate Three Witches (Abel Cedillo), Chismosa (Tiago Pereira), Daddysruby (Reylu Gutierrez) and six others. Two recent winners of this sprint, Gamine and Finest City, were or became Breeders’ Cup winners.

    • Tributes are pouring in for David Hofmans, the Belmont Stakes- and Breeders’ Cup-winning trainer who died at 81 on Wednesday in Arcadia in an apparent suicide. “Speechless!!! One of the best human beings I have met in my life. Always kind and classy,” Umberto Rispoli, who rode Hofmans’ last winner May 11 at Santa Anita, wrote on X (formerly Twitter) after Hofmans’ death. “Shocked to hear news of the passing of (a) consummate horseman and even better person,” racing broadcaster and horseman Nick Hines wrote on X. “(He has) a resume in my mind that is HOF (Hall of Fame) worthy.” Services are pending.

    • Southern California’s two representatives in this spring’s Kentucky Derby return to racing Saturday. Santa Anita Derby winner Stronghold (Antonio Fresu riding), seventh in the Kentucky Derby for trainer Phil D’Amato, is favored in the $300,000, Grade III Indiana Derby. Endlessly (Rispoli), ninth in the Derby for McCarthy, heads Saturday’s $750,000, Grade I Belmont Derby on the Aqueduct turf.

    • Watching overseas prospects for the Nov. 1-2 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar: An Irish-owned colt named Los Angeles won the Irish Derby on Sunday for jockey Ryan Moore and trainer Aidan O’Brien, who won the same race in 2023 with Auguste Rodin on that horse’s way to winning the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Santa Anita. Epsom Derby winner City of Troy, another Moore-O’Brien production, is odds-on for the Coral-Eclipse Stakes on Saturday at Sandown Park outside London.

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    • Los Alamitos stewards suspended jockey Barrington Harvey 10 days for careless riding in the fifth race June 23. Harvey and Mischievous Dylan were disqualified from second place for causing Paislees Promise to clip heels and unseat jockey J.R. Valenzuela, who was hospitalized overnight for observation but back in action the following weekend.

    • A handicapping contest Saturday at Los Alamitos offers cash prizes and two entries in the 2025 National Thoroughbred Racing Association Handicapping Championship in Las Vegas. Entry costs $500. Find more information at

    — Kevin Modesti 

    ​ Orange County Register 

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