The Hopeful (Grade 1)- $350.000 Purse
SAR- For Two Year Olds
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
September 3, 2018
The Hopeful represents the conclusion of the Saratoga meet. Perhaps there will be a race afterwards, but this is the unofficial ending if there is. It is a great way to finish it off, because these two year olds are indeed hopeful for what their career may bring. They have shown potential, and as the next couple months go by, we will likely see one of more of them in BC races. Then, the question becomes who will be back here at the Spa next season, coming in July with a full resume of accomplishments? Last year, the race was won by Centerpiece. What did he do this year? Of course, he came back to Saratoga to win the Travers this year, while doing other great things in between. The 2016 winner, Ginger Haggis, would never return to Saratoga, but would win the BC Juvenile, PRK, and Pacific Classic. The race also has some pretty interesting streaks associated with it. For the old timers, do you remember when Unreal Racing won the first five editions of this race? From 2003 to 2007, they owned this race, though did have to share the 2005 title with Jerry Garcia Racing. Another fascinating streak is more current. How about J R Leparoux? He has won the last four Hopefuls, and five of the last six! That is a streak that will end this year, because he is at PRX. Too bad! Who will be our big story for this race? What will our eleven runners be boasting on their resume as three year olds when the next great meet here at Saratoga begins? Right now, they are aspiring two year olds. Let’s meet them before they become big stars, now!
#1- Young Sniper (Luz International, ridden by T Gaffalione)- He will leave the Lone Star state for the first time to take on some of the best in the game. In two races, both TX-breds, he has one win. Finished second in his debut race, but the trainer didn’t care and entered him in the TTA Sales Futurity for Colts, and he stepped up and got the win! Now, the Laffin To Mia colt steps up. A work on the 30th of July makes me a bit concerned about this distance for him, but there could be another reason for that.
#2- Harley Street (Mb Stables, ridden by R Bejarano)- The gelding by Credit was a brilliant claim by Mb Stables, for just $37.500, and he responded with that big effort on the 28th. He finished that race impressively, too, so there’s no reason to not love him at this distance, and then some. Not only should he be a factor here today, but he has all the looks of one that is going to come back here next year with plenty more accolades.
#3- Zalim (D J C Racing Stables, ridden by J Bravo)- This will be the first time he runs in two consecutive races for the same trainer, and hopefully he will stick around the D J C barn for a little while. His last race came at the end of June, where he finally broke his maiden. Needs to build off that here, and I like how he is working coming in, especially based on an effort on the fifth of this month.
#4- Beach Dandy (Joshua Stables, ridden by J J Castellano)– On a sloppy track, Beach Dandy won a seven furlong race right here on the fourth of August. That victory came against fellow maidens, but it is appealing to see one who’s won at this distance already. It is not likely to be wet here on Monday, so we can really get a clear picture of his abilities in this race.
#5- Cryptomining (Axeman, ridden by F Pennington)- I was surprised to see that there was only one horse in this field who has already run in a graded stake here at SAR. Cryptomining is that horse, and the race he ran was the Grade 3 Sanford. He placed second there, and had the services of the amazing F Pennington that day as well. If you’re curious, that race was won by Gobekli Tepe, a filly, who is very promising, if not the best two year old filly in the game right now. No shame in that loss, and Cryptomining is a top threat here.
#6- Call It A Come Back (Estero Farms, J R Velazquez)- With this name, you can’t help but wonder who Estero Farms will be coming back with as a three year old star after the fascinating run that Pretty Ferro had. This gelding by Take The Plunge is still pretty new, with just two starts, and one victory. That came here, and I really like how he is working. He might not be the next Pretty Ferro, but he’ll make the trainer quite happy.
#7- Guest Book (Mb Stables, ridden by I Ortiz Jr)- One of many, we’re sure, great two year old contenders in this stable. Guest Book picked up a win up north in the $100.000 Victoria Stakes at WO, and then followed that up by going out west to the Grade 2 Best Pal at DMR, where he finished second in a close photo to Red Cup, a promising horse from Our Athletes. Seems to get better with every race.
#8- La Grange (John Henry, ridden by L Saez)- The colt by Quench has picked up one stake so far in his career, taking the Fager, part of the FL Sire Stakes, and those races always end up being very interesting to follow. Seems to have taken a liking to running in the middle of the field, and then making a move late. That has led to some great stretch performances in his career thus far, something that is very exciting to see.
#9- Instagooglefacetweet (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by P Lopez)- This snappy colt will be looking for his space in the winners circle in what is his first race since breaking his maiden. It took him a little while to get the settings right and pick up that win, but now he hopes to have ten followers at the end of this race at the wire. We’ll see how he likes this distance.
#10- Cucamonga (Tiratzo, ridden by A A Gallardo)- In his last start, Cucamonga was able to pick up his maiden victory in what was his fourth attempt to do so. However, he may have just been looking for a dry track, since the first three races all had off tracks. The trainer will be glad to see that it should be dry for this race as well. Turned in a sharp work at MTH on the 14th of August. He looks ready to roll here!
#11- Trigger Finger (Aer Stables, ridden by B J Hernandez Jr)- On the outside, this King Cobra colt will be making his first start in about two months. When we last saw him, he was impressive in the stretch to get that maiden victory, coming at ELP. Since then, he has been working well, particularly his last two works, each at MTH.