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Out of Patience wins opening day feature at Los Alamitos

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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — Out of Patience held off 13-1 shot Shackleford Banks by a nose to win the $21,380 feature on opening day of the winter meet at Los Alamitos on Thursday.

Ridden by Joe Talamo, Out of Patience ran a mile in 1:37.18 and paid $9, $4.80 and $3.60 as the 7-2 second choice.

Shackleford Banks returned $9.20 and $6.60 after rallying from last in the field of nine. Comes the Dream, the 7-5 favorite, was another half-length back in third and paid $3.20 to show.

Out of Patience earned his ninth win in 37 career starts and increased his earnings to $192,296. He failed to win in eight starts last year, but now has six wins this year for trainer Bill Spawr.

The meet began with a record-setting upset in the first race on the card.

Meet At Jakes, a 76-1 shot, won by 6 3/4 lengths and paid $154.80 to win, the biggest payout since thoroughbred racing returned to Los Alamitos in July 2014. The old mark was $139.20 by Puerto Williams in the ninth race on Dec. 6, 2014.

Baffert sweeps Grade 1 two-year-old races at Los Alamitos

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LOS ALAMITOS, Calif. — Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert swept the CashCall Futurity and Starlet for 2-year-olds, winning the Grade 1 races for the second straight year at Los Alamitos.

Improbable won the $300,345 Futurity by five lengths as the 1-5 favorite and 3-2 favorite Chasing Yesterday won the $300,345 Starlet by a head on Saturday. Drayden Van Dyke became the second jockey to win both races in the same year.

Baffert earned his fifth straight victory in the Futurity and his 11th overall, having won it six times at old Hollywood Park.

Improbable ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:41.18 and paid $2.40 to win. The colt’s ownership includes most of the group that owned Triple Crown winner Justify.

In the Starlet, Chasing Yesterday ran 1 1/16 miles in 1:42.59 and paid $5 to win. She is a half-sister to 2015 Triple Crown winner American Pharoah, also trained by Baffert.

Victor Espinoza aims for January comeback

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DEL MAR, Calif. — Hall of Fame jockey Victor Espinoza is aiming to return to riding in January, six months after he was seriously injured in a training accident.

The 46-year-old rider says he had an MRI recently and “it came out perfect.” Espinoza says he doesn’t need surgery and his spinal cord has healed “perfectly,” which was his main concern.

He fractured a vertebra in his neck at Del Mar last July when the horse he was exercising fell.

Espinoza was back at Del Mar on Saturday for the first time since the accident. He presented the trophy to the winning connections in the Grade 1 Hollywood Derby. He has been recuperating at his Del Mar home.

Espinoza says he hopes to return sometime in January at Santa Anita. The track opens its winter meet on Dec. 26.

He rode American Pharoah to a Triple Crown sweep in 2015.