Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who won the inaugural Los Alamitos Special with Dabster in 2018, will send out a pair of veterans when the $100,000 race is renewed for the third time Sunday.
Run at 1 ¼ miles in 2018 and 2019, the Special will be conducted at 1 1/16 miles this year. It is the fifth of nine races. Post time is 1 p.m. Scheduled post time for the Special is 2:58 p.m.
The program also includes the $75,000 Dark Mirage, an overnight stakes for fillies and mares (3-year-olds & up) at one mile.
Named for the champion 3-year-old filly of 1968 who finished her career with 12 wins from 27 starts and earnings of $362,789, the Dark Mirage attracted six entrants and will go as the eighth race. Scheduled post time is 4:28 p.m.
Baffert’s representatives in the Los Alamitos Special are the 5-year-old Magic On Tap and 7-year-old Leading Score.
Owned by breeder Summer Wind Equine LLC, Magic On Tap will be trying to rebound from a last place finish in the Grade I Pacific Classic Aug. 21 at Del Mar.
A gray son of Tapit and the Street Sense mare Aubby K, Magic On Tap has won three of eight and banked $234,300. He does have a graded victory on his resume, having captured the Grade II Triple Bend at seven furlongs earlier this year at Santa Anita. The Special will mark his first start at Los Alamitos.
A Midnight Lute horse out of the Flying Chevron mare Shameful, Leading Score has won three of 10 and earned $141,810 for owner-breeders Patti and Hal Earnhardt III.
Idle since finishing eighth of nine in an optional claimer April 24 in Arcadia, Leading Score went gate-to-wire at eight furlongs in his lone local appearance during the 2017 LACF season.
Trained by Hall of Famer Richard Mandella for owners Perry and Ramona Bass, Border Town will be making his dirt debut Sunday. The 5-year-old War Front gelding out of the Sadler’s Wells mare Liscanna has three wins in 16 attempts on turf and earnings of $176,600.
Manhattan Up will be making his first start for new connections after being claimed for $80,000 by trainer Jonathan Wong for KAM Racing Stables Aug. 22.
The 5-year-old son of Street Boss will be seeking his initial win of 2021 in his sixth race of the year, Out of the Service Stripe mare In the Frame, Manhattan Up is 3-for-21 with earnings of $186,467.
Trainer Mark Glatt, who won the 2019 Los Alamitos Special with Zestful, will send out Bold Endeavor and Sash.
A 5-year-old Bernardini gelding out of the Awesome Again mare Awesome Lassie owned by William Branch, William Buster, Jr. and Mark Cohen, Bold Endeavor has won five of 26 and banked $230,404. He’s won once in eight outings this year, but has been 2-3 on five other occasions.
Owned by Red Baron’s Barn LLC and Rancho Temescal LLC, Sash will be seeking his first win in his seventh start of 2021.
A son of Oasis Dream and the Empire Maker mare Surcingle, the 5-year-old English bred gelding has banked $109,923 while winning four of 22. His lone tally in the United States came Jan. 25, 2020 when winning an optional claimer by a nose on the Santa Anita turf.
From inside out, the field for the Los Alamitos Special: Bold Endeavor, Juan Hernandez rides, 120 pounds; Sash, Kyle Frey, 120; Manhattan Up, Tiago Pereira, 120; Leading Score, Edwin Maldonado, 120; Border Town, Drayden Van Dyke, 120 and Magic On Tap, Abel Cedillo, 122.
The sharpest member of the Dark Mirage field is Samurai Charm.
Owned by Downstream Racing LLC and trained by Peter Miller, the 4-year-old First Samurai filly has won four in a row, including three in 2021 after returning from a layoff of almost 22 months.
Out of the Silver Charm mare Back Seat Charm, Samurai Charm has earned her last two wins at Sunday’s distance and is 2-for-2 at Los Alamitos. She graduated against $50,000 claimers during the 2019 Los Angeles County Fair meet and scored at 11-1 upset in her July 2 return during the Summer Thoroughbred Festival. Both of those wins came at 5 ½ furlongs. She’s earned $104,760 in five starts.
Runner-up in the restricted Tranquility Lake Stakes Aug. 27, Paige Anne will try to go 2-for-2 at Los Alamitos. Owned by Elie and Lori Feghali and Mathiesen Racing LLC, the 4-year-old Will Take Charge filly broke her maiden locally during the 2019 Winter meet. She is 2-for-13 with earnings of $170,940.
The Dark Mirage field also includes Harper’s Gallop, who won over the track July 2, Candura, who is 2-for-2 on dirt for Hronis Racing LLC and trainer John Sadler, Big Sweep, who will stretch out for the first time on the main track for trainer Mark Glatt since finishing third as the 9-10 favorite in the 2020 Melair Stakes, and last out maiden winner Velvet Slippers.
From inside out, the field for the Dark Mirage: Samurai Charm, Kyle Frey rides, 124 pounds; Candura, Abel Cedillo, 121; Big Sweep, Geovanni Franco, 121; Harper’s Gallop, Drayden Van Dyke, 124; Paige Anne, Juan Hernandez, 124 and Velvet Slippers, Mike Smith, 121.