The seven furlongs Hopeful Stakes has been downgraded to a Grade 2 race due to the weakness of its recent winners. No fear; a streak of good wins can get the historic race back to where it was in a hurry. This year’s field looks perfectly capable of getting the ball rolling.
#1 Show Some Magic (Any Given Saturday x Whirlwind Charlott by Real Quiet): It took him four tries to get his maiden broken, with all of those efforts coming at 5 ½ furlongs. Given his route pedigree and the strength of the competition, we cannot hold the losses against him. A chance to stretch out in distance might show a new horse, but the time to catch him might be when he goes past a mile. Julien Leparoux will ride from the fence for trainer Steve Asmussen.
#2 Bern Identity (Bernstein x Maddalena by Good and Tough): Not many horses win by 13 ¾ lengths going five furlongs, but this guy did when he broke his maiden at Belmont. The Kelly Breen pupil returned from that race to take the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes by a comfortable 1 ¼ lengths. Jockey Rosie Napravnik has opted to ride the Pletcher trained Shanghai Bobby. That should not deter those that like this colt, as she is merely going with the bigger barn. Bern Identity rates among the best in this race without question.
#3 Lawn Man (Flatter x Holly Park by Go For Gin): Raced as the “other” Todd Pletcher horse in his maiden debut, but surprised everyone by winning in wire to wire fashion by 4 ½ lengths. It was no group of slouches he beat and with a move forward he could easily win this race. JJ Castellano stays aboard.
#4 Fortify (Distorted Humor x Kotuku by AP Indy): Acted up at the gate before running away and hiding to win his maiden by 5 ½ lengths. He stopped the clock in 1:16.34 for the 6 ½ furlongs distance. The Godolphin owned horse looks like a future star and is in the best of hands with Kiaran McLaughlin. Joe Bravo will make the trip to ride.
#6 Royal Alert (Afleet Alex x Prall Street by Cherokee Run): D Wayne Lukas has entered this seemingly hopeless long shot. The horse has just one race and finished a well beaten third; in a field of five. Rajiv Maragh is listed to ride.
#7 Overanalyze (Dixie Union x Unacloud by Unnacounted For): Like many in this race, he was an easy first out winner. He stopped the five furlongs clock in :57.48 under a vigorous hand ride from John Velazquez. His pedigree is great for this type of race, but he is an unknown commodity. Johnny V stays aboard.
#8 Vegas No Show (Hard Spun x The Hess Express by Lord Carson): Won his second start, which came at Delaware Park going a flat mile. He was a green winner that day and probably didn’t beat much of a field. It’s hard to envision a win for the Kelly Breen trainee. Alan Garcia is listed to ride.
#9 Shanghai Bobby (Harlan’s Holiday x Steelin’ by Orientate): Track Barrron Stakes winner hasn’t been seen since June 27, but could be the one to beat. His works are sharp and jockey Rosie Napravnik will have options with this outside break. Was he merely a little more precocious than the others to have won his first two races, or is he the real deal? This race will answer that question.
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