Hope Stakes (Grade 3)- $100.000 Purse
DMR- For Two Year Olds
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
November 11, 2017
Things are a lot quieter this weekend at DMR then they were last weekend, but it’s time to get over BC hangover and focus on a talented crop of two year olds who will be running in the Grade 3 Hope Stakes. It’s the 15th time that the race will be run in our virtual world, though there are no winners that particularly stand out, mainly because either you run in the BC Juvenile, or you try out the DED Jackpot if you got a superstar. The main thing that stands out is that horses who’s name begins with “S” seem to be very successful in this race. Let’s see if one of these runners can use this race and eventually become its headliner in years to come. Here’s the field of eight!
#1- Barbary Appeal (Nakamura Stables, ridden by Mar Garcia)- After doing little in his first start, Barbary Appeal was impressive after being given a few months off. At PLN, he won while pulling away in a statebred maiden at PLN. Works seem good, and his conformation is terrific. Otherwise, he is a little raw compared to most of his competitors here, but I can’t see any reason why he can’t be up for the task. If he’s continued to improve since that race, he will be more dangerous in here.
#2- Powerful Position (Mb Stables, ridden by M Franco)- After going 0-for-3 in the BC races I covered last weekend, the trainer is due for me to write about a winner of his. All kidding aside, what an amazing weekend Mb Stables had here, and the name of his entry in this race seems very appropriate for the status of his barn. Powerful Position will be racing as a gelding for the first time here, a career that has seen two wins in four starts. He is a strong contender here, but not my top pick.
#3- Gray Dali (Williams9, ridden by J R Velazquez)- Will the long-time trainer, who’s been through a lot, finally pick up that first graded win? I think he has a pretty good shot here. Gray Dali has won three of six, which include the $100.000 Jack at HST for ON-breds. He didn’t show up the first time he tried a race at this level, but with the experience gained in the last three races, he’s a good candidate to redeem himself.
#4- Powerful Suit (Nakamura Stables, ridden by E A Roman)- Like his stablemate, Powerful Suit does not have as much experience as others in the field. There has been one win in three career starts, coming at ALB. His last start at PRX was brutal. There is no way he is entered here off of that race if the trainer is not completely convinced it is a throw out, so we’ll try to look past it as well. He’s not as powerful as Mb’s Powerful one, but he’s worked well and could surprise.
#5- Laffin Unity (The Sidley Stud, ridden by J R Leparoux)- This looks like the horse to beat in this field, and he provides a good example of why this barn is in great shape right now. While he has only won two of seven, it’s a couple of non-wins that get my attention the most, especially that fourth place run in the Grade 3 Futurity as he chased a BC Juvenile appearance. He was on that path for a few months, which others in here were not. One of his wins were the always tough Colin Stakes at WO for ON-breds. This is a good spot for him to fall into, and this is a good distance as well, I just hope he does not get too far behind early.
#6- Di Farley (Gdp Inc, ridden by D Van Dyke)- The Di Medici colt has only raced once thus far, and picked up a win in slop at CT last month. He returns from the race working particularly well. This is a good chance for the trainer to see how he can translate those works into races. He’s an unknown, and a high risk/high reward option at the betting window. I’ve seen these horses turn into Table Stakes, and turn into leftovers.
#7- I Need A Nap (Mcl Stables, ridden by K J Desormeaux)- Comes into the race off a victory at the $100.000 McDermott Stakes for PA-breds last month. Those races sometimes get overlooked, but the PA crowd is decent as well, so don’t overlook that one. He earned a 93 SRF in that victory, which puts right with the other top contenders. Overall, he has won two of four, and should be a factor here.
#8- Sonderkommando (Barcelona Farms, ridden by P Lopez)- Looks to continue the success of horses who’s name begins with “S” in this race, and is the only one carrying that flag for this race. He’s won just one of four, and that was a $60.000 maiden claimer on this track back in August. Since then, he’s run in a pair of ungraded stakes, with the last one being a second in the $70.000 Speakeasy. He has shown a liking to come from well off the pace.