Who Will Howl in Hope Stakes?

Hope Stakes (Grade 3)- $100.000 Purse
DMR- For Two Year Olds
Seven Furlongs on the Dirt
November 14, 2021

We’re back at DMR this weekend, but to a lot less fanfare. This doesn’t mean that there is not any interesting racing going on here. The Hope Stakes is a smaller Grade 3 that gives horses who might not be quite ready to compete with the biggest names a chance to get a big win and perhaps get closer to that point. After all, the winner of this race last year didn’t need to run in the BC in order to have a great three year old season. Last year, while many were still thinking about the top horses to have raced in the BC Juvenile, a horse by the name of Howl Of The Hound was running here, and winning the Hope Stakes for his first graded win. Our winner this year would love to follow that path, but would certainly be happy with something moderately close to that. We’ll have a field of nine going to post. Here they are!

#1- East Of Creep (Barcelona Farms, ridden by T J Pereira)- This gelding was raced in early April, and picked up a win at TAM, but would not be seen again until the beginning of August where he resurfaced in the $100.000 Graduation Stakes for CA-breds, and ran second in the race. Still has only won the one race, out of his three starts, but has shown ample talent when out on the track.

#2- Aggrivated Bandit (Blue Ridge Racing, ridden by U Rispoli)- While the horse will always be the enemy of autocorrect when typing his name, Aggrivated Bandit has been nothing but successful thus far in this career. Out of five starts, he has won thrice, highlighted by taking the $100.000 TTA Sales Futurity- Colts, for TX-breds in July. Despite that, he had not been given another chance in a stake until now. He has certainly earned his opportunity here.

#3- Aladdins Genie (Mb Stables, ridden by A Cedillo)- Is another Howl Of The HOund about to come out of this trainer’s magic lamp? Aladdins Genie is on the right track for that, being a perfect three for three in his career. He won on debut at the free track, and was then sold to Mb Stables for $75.000, and he was able to win a $103.000 allowance at SAR with him a start later. Next he won the $100.000 Smoke Glacken Stakes at MTH to stay perfect.

#4- Union Mills (Sccj Stables, ridden by L Saez)- Won on debut at SA, giving the trainer confidence to run him in the Grade 3 Bashford Manor following that. That did not go well for him, beating only one of his rivals, and with that Sccj took another look at the adds and came back with a different combination. In late August, he ran very well though placed second in an optional claimer right here at DMR, one spot better than Aggrivated Bandit. Looks like the blinkers are coming off for this race.

#5- Jersey Kick (Greeko Holdem, ridden by J Bravo)- Another horse hoping that the Hope Stakes will catapult him into racing in much bigger races. He has three races up to this point, winning two of them. He would win on debut at HAW, and then tried his luck with turf racing at SAR. After running well there in a third place effort, he scored a win in the $55.000 Manzano Stakes. That came in September, and he has been resting since then.

#6- The Kingfish (Jediminds Stable, ridden by D Van Dyke)- There’s only one race on his resume, and it was a victory, coming up at GG in a maiden for CA-breds. His works are strong, and every bit as good as the others in this field, so there is nothing that suggests that he cannot make this jump and take this race, too. But there are other good up and comers that he meets here as well. It’s a good test.

#7- Savoy Brown (EasyMoney Stables, ridden by J J Hernandez)- Having made six career starts, Savoy Brown is the most experienced runner in the field. He has found success, being a part of the exacta in all but one of his starts, with three wins. His only stake attempt is also his only attempt at running on the grass, and that did not go well for him. It’s no surprise to see him back on the brown for this race. Others have faced stiffer competition to this point, but Savoy Brown has shown he can get results.

#8- Rudy Is With Me (Fractious, ridden by J R Velazquez)- This is the only horse in the field that was close to running in the BC Juvenile, mainly because he ran in the Grade 1 Champagne. As a big longshot, that race did not go well for him, starting at the back and only getting up for sixth place. He also made a start in the Grade 2 SAR Special with a similar result of starting near the back and only getting up for sixth. Otherwise, he’s been very good and his works are great. You get the feeling that his race will be decided right from the starting gate.

#9- Ruffneck (TwinTowersRacing, ridden by Ru Gonzalez)- Started his racing career well by winning his first two races, coming in May and June. He was then given the next three months off, likely due to limited race selection, and would reappear in the $75.000 Loyalty Stakes at BTP. Ruffneck was a nonfactor in that race and has been idle since. There’s nothing wrong with his works, necessarily, but the others seem to be working a tick faster than him. He’ll have to make that up on the track, and from the outside, that’s not easy.

Prediction: 3-5-8-4

— NS

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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