When you sign-up through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. Learn more >
Check out our predictions and odds for the Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar!
HARD TO FIGURE
J J Hernandez
GIVER NOT A TAKER
D Van Dyke
*Odds provided by author Brian Zipse.
$20 Exacta - Newgate over Havnameltdown = $20
$5 Trifecta Part Wheel - Newgate and Havnameltdown over Newgate, Havnameltdown and Practical Move over Newgate, Havnameltdown, Practical Move, and Mixto = $40
If you're playing only to win, go with my top pick Newgate (5/2).
Led by graded stakes winner Havnameltdown, trainer Bob Baffert holds a strong hand of three out of the seven 2-year-olds entered in Sunday’s Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar.
A son of Uncaptured, Havnameltdown has been headed only once in his three-race career, and that came when finishing second last time in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity behind the heavily favored Cave Rock.
In his first two starts, also at Del Mar, he went right to the lead and made all the running in a maiden race in July and then the Grade 3 Best Pal in August.
Chief among his competition in the 7-furlong Bob Hope will be stablemates Newgate and Hard to Figure.
The former was also a sharp, first-out winner for Baffert at Del Mar in July. Off that effort, Newgate ran in two consecutive Grade 1 races, finishing fourth in the Del Mar Futurity and then fifth in the Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland.
Hard to Figure, meanwhile, was twice third in maiden special weights before breaking his maiden last time when winning the Capote Stakes at Los Alamitos.
This speedy son of Uncaptured has certainly done nothing wrong in three starts for trainer Bob Baffert. With three races at Del Mar under his belt, he has shown a high turn of speed each time, with only the two-time grade 1 winner Cave Rock able to get the best of him.
A sharp maiden winner at five furlongs and a grade 3 winner at six furlongs, his only loss came when beaten in the Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity at seven furlongs by one of the best juveniles in the nation.
A deserving favorite, he will need to prove that he is still faster than the rest when he faces a solid test here going seven furlongs on Sunday. He is the one to beat, but there is one here I like just a little better.
Drawn to the outside in this field of seven, this son of Into Mischief might hold the advantage over his speedy stablemate. After an impressive debut win, the Baffert runner was unable to stick with Cave Rock in his second career race and finished behind Havnameltdown.
Off that effort, he was shipped to Kentucky where he showed solid early speed before succumbing in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Futurity at Keeneland while going 8 1/2 furlongs. That race was flattered when Forte came back to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile.
Now he gets another shot at his stablemate, with no superstars in the race. I like his chances to stalk early and pass the favorite this time. He is the top pick.
The third of three from the Baffert barn, he could not stay with Newgate late in both horse’s debuts back in July. While that one went on to tougher assignments, this son of Hard Spun was no match for another stablemate when stretched to a mile.
That experience seemed to do the son of Hard Spun well, though, as he proved much the best last time in a listed stakes race at Los Alamitos when cutting back to a sprint distance.
The last was an improvement, but with all the speed of his stablemates, I am not ready to support him here as the likely third choice.
This son of Practical Joke has not crossed the wire first in three career races for trainer Tim Yakteen. He was awarded the victory last time, though, when seriously bothered in a one-mile maiden race at Santa Anita.
Coming from maidens to a graded stakes company is never simple, but he has run against very good horses already, including finishing second to Cave Rock in his debut.
The Bob Hope is another tough spot for the bay colt, but a strong early pace should help his chances to get into the exotics when the real running begins.
This gelded son of Danzing Candy has proven himself a capable sprinter in three tries. After a sharp debut win, he added a convincing victory in the I’m Smoking Stakes, before finishing second last time in the Golden State Juvenile.
In between his good efforts, he tried turf and that did not work out, but on dirt, he has run three solid races. This will be the California-bred’s toughest test to date, though, as he moves up to open company on Sunday.
With good tactical speed and the ability to pass horses, he certainly could be a factor here, but I think the bump-up in class may be too big a hurdle.
Still, a maiden after three career starts, this son of Good Magic has shown some good late in both of his maiden tries, including a good third last out. In between those efforts, he proved no match for his competition in the Del Mar Futurity.
He has twice finished behind Practical Move but was closing in on him both times. He deserves to be a long shot on Sunday, but if the pace is hot, he could be a horse picking up the pieces to get into the exotics.
This son of The Factor ships in from Washington State on a two-race winning streak for trainer Jerry Hollendorfer.
After losing his first three starts at Emerald Downs, he has bounced back with consecutive wins in August and September. In both a maiden race and then the Gottstein Futurity, he used his speed to take over the race early and then roll to easy victories.
This will be a test of that speed as he cuts back to seven furlongs and faces graded stakes company at Del Mar. There is no doubt that he has improved and has some talent, but I am not ready to pick him until he proves himself at this class level.
Live streaming and instant replays
Exclusive rewards program
Huge variety of bets
$200 Sign-Up Offer
21+ | Terms and conditions apply
$25 referral bonus
Picks from horse racing experts
Promo Code '200TVG'
Get your first single horse wager back up to $200
21+ | Terms and conditions apply
Taken to the races at a very young age, Brian has been a passionate fan of horse racing his entire life. Professionally, his work has been published on several leading industry sites. Brian served as the Editor of Horse Racing Nation from 2010-2017, where he still writes a regular column and hosts the popular weekly webcast HorseCenter.
Email: [email protected]
© Rebel Penguin ApS 2023 (a subsidiary of Gaming Innovation Group Inc.)
We support responsible gambling. 21+ Only. Gambling problem? Call 1-800-Gambler.
WSN.com is run by iGaming Cloud Inc (a Gaming Innovation Group Subsidiary) and is registered with the New Jersey Division of Gaming Enforcement (DGE) under affiliate vendor ID 89744, with the Indiana Gaming Commission (IGC) under certificate of registration number SWR-000148, approved by the Pennsylvania Gaming Control Board as a gaming service provider, under certificate registration number 117656-1, possesses a Vendor Minor sports betting license from the Colorado Limited Gaming Control Commission (account number 94414163), granted a vendor registration number VR007603-20-001 by the Michigan Gaming Control Board, an interim Sports Wagering Supplier license, under license number SWS 066, issued by the West Virginia Lottery Commission, a sports betting vendor registration, under registration number #100400, issued by the Director of Gaming Licensing and Investigations of the Virginia Lottery to operate in the State of Virginia, and a Vendor Registration issued by the Sports Wagering Committee of the Tennessee Education Lottery Corporation.
Advertising disclosure: WSN contains links to online retailers on its website. When people click on our affiliate links and make purchases, WSN earns a commission from our partners, including ESPN and various sportsbooks.