Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert saddles two favaorites, Uncle Chuck and Thousand Words, in Saturday’s Los Alamitos Derby Photo by @SaratogaSlim (Twitter)
- With the Kentucky Derby now moved to September, the Los Alamitos Derby has become a Run for the Roses Prep Race
- Trainer Bob Baffert has the two favorites in Thousand Words and Uncle Chuck
- Read below for odds, analysis and our best bet
The road to the Kentucky Derby does not usually stop in Cypress, CA. Top Derby prospects often run at Santa Anita in Arcadia, or Del Mar near San Diego, but rarely do they stop in between at Los Alamitos. However, with COVID-19 moving the Derby to September, there is more time to prep, and more races necessary. That makes Saturday’s Los Alamitos Derby an opportunity for contenders to earn qualifying points to the Run for the Roses.
Five horses are lined up to contest the mile-and-an-eighth contest that has a purse of $150,000. Bob Baffert saddles Uncle Chuck for just the second time after winning a maiden race easily last month. Baffert also sends out Thousand Words, who started his career three-for-three but has been roughed up his last two times out.
Let’s take a look at the updated odds, discuss the entrants, and see if we can determine a reasonable wager.
2020 Los Alamitos Derby Odds
Odds taken July 3
While he has only run once in his career, Uncle Chuck is a reasonable favorite against a mostly underwhelming field. His debut June 12 went as well as you could hope for.
Though his level of competition last month is mediocre, Uncle Chuck was unhurried, confidently ridden, and in total control. A $250,000 purchase, Baffert will utilize jockey Luis Saez on Saturday with Mike Smith unavailable because he is at Belmont Park for the day.
The two primary threats to Uncle Chuck are horses who have shown something, but not recently. Thousand Words won his first three races and following the Robert B. Lewis Stakes in February he was considered a major Kentucky Derby contender.
He subsequently went off at less than +300 odds against Authentic and Honor A.P. in March’s San Felipe Stakes, but finished fourth and wasn’t close. He turned around and finished 11th as the favorite in April’s Oaklawn Handicap. That said, he stumbled out of the gate that day and should show significant improvement in the Los Alamitos Derby. A $1 million investment, Thousand Words certainly has talent.
As for Anneau d’Or, he has just one win in six races, but was second in the Breeders Cup Juvenile, and last year’s Los Alamitos Futurity, falling just shy of Thousand Words.
Things haven’t gone well for Anneau d’Or since that runner up performance. He was ninth in the Risen Star Stakes, fifth, way behind Charlatan in the Arkansas Derby, and fourth and not competitive against Authentic and Honor A.P. in the Santa Anita Derby.
Great Power has really done nothing wrong. He won a maiden race as the favorite in September, and in his 2020 debut in March ran up against Charlatan.
If Rushie, who finished second in that race entered the Los Alamitos Derby, he would be a serious contender. Great Power finished a couple lengths behind Rushie in his second race. Being lightly raced Great Power should improve, and seems viable against this field if not likely.
Any of the four horses mentioned are reasonable. Cosmo, who hasn’t won in five tries, all on turf, would be surprising.
Because Uncle Chuck has only run once, it is hard to take a super small price on him. It is difficult to separate Thousand Words and Anneau d’Or since they have very similar resumes. Based on price, that makes Anneau d’Or the better value, but both have run as many or more mediocre races than good ones.
Great Power will need to run faster to win this race, and might in his third start. Getting +600 odds in a five-horse field with a horse that has a legitimate chance is pretty strong.
Dave has been working in sports journalism for over 16 years. He has broadcast, written about, and reported on the NFL, NBA, MLB, the Olympics, horse racing, golf, tennis, and college sports. Dave has created content for the Associate Press, Metro Networks, ESPN, and numerous local publications.