Ten Battle for the Hooper Prize

Hooper – Grade III
GP Race #7 1m Dirt Graded Stake
Purse $150.000 For Four Year Olds And Upward.

1 Hint Of Sugar Arindel Gonzalez Ru 124 —

With only four wins this one hasn’t always followed up on competitive efforts with a victory but there has been no doubting the ability is there it is just a matter of finding the day he brings it to the races. Fourth in this race last year he was once a live KYD hope after a great second in the FL Derby and the Fountain Of Youth but he flopped a little in the big one and has never really run up to that promise since. Five-year-olds can often spend come back to their best especially if they were good at two or three so it wouldn’t surprise me if he ran big today and his works are certainly right up there with the best. A gamble for sure but also a possible winner.

2 Need 4 Speed Nakamura Stables Rodriguez A R 124 —

The winner of eleven from nineteen he certainly knows how to win and is a multiple graded stakes winner. It was in 2020 after being campaigned in little low-level claimers that he found a new home and was quickly turned into a can’t winner, since then he has moved again but has found a stable that wins these types of races for fun and certainly has a live chance over what maybe his best trip.

3 Broadway Bay Angelos Stable Conner T 124 —

Claimed from Rock Creek late last year he made a winning start for the new stable in taking the listed Robb Stakes and going by that and some blistering works he just loves his new home. A 1.36 flat mile work puts him among the best here and he may just be a nice bet considering his odds should be a bit longer.

4 Sexy Back Night Rider Stables Zayas E J 124 —

He won the GP Mile last year and as the stable likes to do was then thrown in the deep end to take on the very best. His last six races were in successive grade ones so there was no taking prisoners. His best races came in the Awesome Again where he very nearly won going down by a nose and the Pacific Classic where he was a highly competitive third. He certainly has the form and experience to be right in this and his works continue to be setting the track alight.

5 Real One Nakamura Stables Bocachica A 124 —

The second stable runner and a real tough sort who may just find this mile a bit sharp. That doesn’t mean he can’t run well or even win as he showed last year in the San Pasqual at this time of year when taking that competitive early grade two. I think rain is the only thing that will stop him being right in this race.

6 Living In The Matrix TwinTowersRacing Lezcano J 124 —

Why am I shaking my head? Well, I want to say this one is up against it, but this is exactly the sort of horse this stable like to win with in races like this and more than once they have made me sound stupid. Lightly raced and the winner of only one dirt race his last win came in a LAD one win allowance on the turf so it is hard to put him up with the best of these. BUT he is working the right mile times to be competitive, and he did run well in the HOL Derby last time out so i am ready to be made a fool of once again.

7 A Boy And His Dog Choppy Inc. Gonzalez Al 124 —

After Howl To The Hound it feels like a horse with this name should be Mb’s next Derby hope but this six-year-old is owned by Choppy Inc who will be hoping he can pull of a big run today. A very, very consistent horse he deserves a shot here even though his bare form looks a few ticks off the best in the race. Consistency and heart can go a long way, though and, this one has plenty of both, I expect another battling run, but it is a stretch to see him winning.

8 Ideal Info Arindel Franco M 124 —

A lightly raced and fairly consistent four-year-old he went to the KYD last year after a strong second in the SA Derby but was found wanting in the big one. His subsequent runs seem to suggest he is just not up to the elite grade, but his works are sharp, and he may be just a slightly slower developer. Interesting for the stable to have one inside and one outside and i feel this one out of the two may have a bit more scope.

9 Starship Rover Grimley Castellano J J 124 —

A very lightly raced five-year-old his only foray into this level came in The Smith in November last year when he led for a long way before weakening into sixth. His works are pretty good, but it is a stretch to see him with a winning chance.

10 Komodo G Acber Farms Bridgmohan S X 124 —

A very interesting entry but it is intriguing that once again I am writing about a race where the two horses with the least form are drawn the widest, almost like an additional handicap. Well in the car park he may be but this one may be just about the most exciting prospect in the race after starting just three times and winning twice including a shock win in the CC Jewel last start where he beat some horses with strong graded stakes form. He is not a strong worker but if he wins this, he may just be a horse that can go all the way.

An interesting race with plenty of good horses and a few not so good who may just be finding some improvement. Sexy Back may just be the best on paper and should be right there and possibly winning, but I rather like the look of Broadway Bay who may just on a new path with their new owner. Anything could be the other one in the photo finish, but I like the Arindel pair, and I would love to see Komodo G run a big race.

Categories: Grade III, STAKES ARTICLES

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