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Los Alamitos ready for its summer run of horse racing doubleheaders

Los Alamitos fulfills its role as a bridge on the Southern California racing circuit as its summer meeting opens Thursday. This year, the meeting expands from eight days to 12 and it gets to run on the July 4th holiday.

Santa Anita closed its marathon 102-day season Sunday with an impressive $1 billion in all-sources handle, up more than 8% over last year. On July 18, Del Mar opens its popular summer meeting, which goes until Labor Day. In between, sits Los Alamitos.

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Racing will be Thursday through Sunday, except next week when there will be racing on Wednesday with Thursday off. Post time has been moved up to 1 p.m., an hour earlier than last year. Los Alamitos also has the distinction of being the only track in the country that runs doubleheaders Friday through Sunday with a quarter-horse meeting at night.

There are three stakes races, the first being the $100,000 Bertrando Stakes on July 4, which is a mile race for Cal-breds. Veteran Soi Phet, who at 10 won his last start, the $100,000 Crystal Water Stakes at Santa Anita, is expected to run. He has won four stakes at Los Alamitos. This will be his 59th lifetime start.

The Grade 2 $200,000 Great Lady M, for fillies and mares going 6 ½ furlongs, will be run Saturday. Defending champion Skye Diamonds is expected to run. She finished fourth in the Breeders’ Cup Fillies and Mares Sprint.

The Grade 3 $150,000 Los Alamitos Derby will be run on July 14 for 3-year-olds going 1 1/8 miles. It’s generally a race for colts who, for whatever reason, missed the Triple Crown races. Past winners include West Coast, last year’s Eclipse Award 3-year-old male, Accelerate, winner of this year’s Santa Anita Handicap and Gold Cup, and Shared Belief, a winner in 10 of 12 lifetime races, including the Santa Anita Handicap.

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