Leparoux Does It Again In Hopeful With Centerpiece

The Hopeful (Grade 1)- $350.000 Purse
SAR- For Two Year Olds
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
September 4, 2017

Jockey accolades in our game are not often talked about. Usually conversations about our virtual riders are limited to how they do not follow instructions, or about the percentages associated with them. It is what it is, after all. However, you can’t do what virtual J R Leparoux has now accomplished and not have it be treated with respect. He has simply been unstoppable in the Hopeful, and has now been the winning rider in this race for four consecutive years, and we’ll throw in “five of the last six” for good measure. Hooking up with Mb Stables for three of those wins has been a good recipe for success, but he also won last year with Ginger Haggis and The Sidley Stud. 2014 and 2015 were victories while running for Mb Stables, aboard Just A Chance and Grandeur. Go back to 2012, and he won with another well known name in Model American, for Jerry Garcia Racing. Centerpiece had gotten off to a good start in his career, but had not run at the stake level quite yet. Today, with the perfect jockey aboard, Centerpiece was able to put his name on what is a very impressive list of past winners. But for those who did not win today, don’t worry, there have been some very good non-winners of the Hopeful as well. Congratulations to these winners! The time of the victory was 1:22.14, a middle of the road time overall.

This race also concludes the Saratoga meet for 2017. This meet is always a highlight of the racing season, and we hope that you have enjoyed it. Congratulations to Atomic Twister, who won both the Whitney and Woodward; to Bronx Bomber, who won the Travers; to Musical Treat, won the Alabama, and to all of our two year old champions. Congratulations to the top five trainers for the meet: Mb Stables, D J C Racing Stables, Mo Mentum Farm, Estero Farms, and Smokey Stover. Now, having said all that, let’s look at the Hopeful!

(1/4 Mile- :23.24)- Exploding out of the gate was our pick to win the race, Psychotic Ruler, from D J C Racing Stables. He was sharp, and at one point looked like he was going to open up a sizable cushion until the longest shot on the board, Rootin Tootin from TwinTowersRacing joined him on the front end. The two of them together would pull out to a two length advantage at this early juncture of the race Edge Of Chai and Centerpiece, both from Mb Stables, running side by side for the third position. The other Mb horse, Spectacular, was just a length behind them in fifth. Chain Up (Alydar Stables) was in close to them, with the final two, El Gran Landing (Sccj Stables) and Your Move (Fractious) being in no early hurry to run.

(½ Mile- :46.34)- The trip down the backstretch and not see much shuffling for position, but it did stretch out the field a little bit more. Psychotic Ruler looked very good with the lead as he looked to go a perfect 4-for-4 to start of his career. Rootin Tootin stayed beside him on the rail, within half a length, shadowing him down the backstretch. As the field moved into the turn, Centerpiece made the move to pass his stable mate, Edge Of Chai, and this subtle pass at this point of the race should not really be overlooked since they would end up finishing 1-2 in a photo at the finish line. J R Leparoux, like a jockey who knows how to win the Hopeful, knew the perfect time to move his mount forward. The rest of the field was in the same order, but Spectacular and Chain Up lost a length to the third place battle, and El Gran Landing and Your Move were now six and seven lengths out of it.

(Top Of Stretch, 1.7F To Go)- Moving around the turn, and into the stretch, there was no change between Psychotic Ruler and Rootin Tootin, and the rest of the field began to pull in. Perhaps, the Mb Stables entries stalked these two to perfection, lulling them into a false sense of security that they were fine on the front end. Edge Of Chai drew even with Centerpiece here, but then R J Albarado seemed to be indecisive about what lane to use for his mount, and he would lose some of what appeared to be a great push. Eventually, he settled into a spot on the rail. Meanwhile, J R Leparoux had no confusion about what to do with Centerpiece, positioning him for a run to the outside of Psychotic Ruler. At this point, it was clear it was going to be a four horse race. Spectacular and Chain Up were flat at the top of the stretch, and El Gran Landing and Your Move had conceded too much ground, although El Gran Landing had a bit more fight.

(Finish- 1:22.14)- In the stretch, the consistent and graceful stride of Centerpiece would get him to the wire just ahead of his stablemate, Edge Of Chai. The trainer may have been thinking that Edge Of Chai would be his winner for a moment, but that one in the closing strides seemed to lose it more then Centerpiece taking it away from him and winning it. Still, the trainer must be thrilled with this 1-2 finish. The win was his 55th of the meet! Psychotic Ruler hangs on for third, as he seemed to be a half length ahead of Rootin Tootin for the entire race. That would be the top four. El Gran Landing gets fifth in a “best of the rest” manner, with Chain Up, Spectacular, and Your Move rounding out the running order.

About The Winner: Centerpiece, trained by Mb Stables and ridden by J R Leparoux, is a two year old colt by Anybody Home and out of Chai Chai again. He was bred in Ontario as a yearling by Mb Stables, and they have been together throughout! Congratulations to the connections! The win was his second in four starts, and his first stake win. His career earnings now sit at $262.400.

##   Horse Name Owner Name Jockey Odds   Fin Time SRF 
  Centerpiece Mb Stables Leparoux J R 7.05   1hd 1:22.14  
  Edge Of Chai Mb Stables Albarado R J 1.60   21 1:22.18  
  Psychotic Ruler D J C Racing Stables Ortiz I Jr 3.40   3nk 1:22.40  
  Rootin Tootin TwinTowersRacing Castellano J J 56.55   42 1:22.45  
  El Gran Landing Sccj Stables Rosario J 5.50   5no 1:22.89  
  Chain Up Alydar Stables Bejarano R 8.25   61/2 1:22.90  
  Spectacular Mb Stables Pennington F 12.85   72 1:23.01  
  Your Move Fractious Velazquez J R 9.50   8 1:23.45  

Track: Fast

Time: :231  :461  1:094  1:22

$2 Mutuel Prices:

8 – Centerpiece 16.10 5.60 3.10
1 – Edge Of Chai   3.10 2.30
7 – Psychotic Ruler     2.50

$1 Exacta: 8 – 1 Paid 16.10

$1 Trifecta: 8 – 1 – 7 Paid 32.90

Scratched: None

— NS

Categories: Grade I, STAKES ARTICLES

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