A field of seven two-year-olds will line up in the $250,000 Runhappy Hopeful (G1) on closing day of the Saratoga summer meeting.
Trainer Steve Asmussen, who won last year’s edition with Basin will send out the 7-5 morning line favorite Jackie’s Warrior, who took the field gate to wire to win the Saratoga Special (G2) at six furlongs on Aug. 7 and is the lone stakes winner in the field.
“It’s good timing back, and he’s had a race over the track,” said Asmussen’s assistant Scott Blasi. “He’s done everything right for us in the mornings and we’re looking forward to running him. Seven-eighths of a mile is not going to be an issue for him.”
The Chad Brown trained Reinvestment Risk is the 8-5 second choice on the morning line and will break from the five post with jockey Irad Ortiz Jr. in the irons. The colt broke his maiden by 7 ¾ lengths in his debut going six furlongs over the Saratoga main track on Aug. 1.
Todd Pletcher, who leads Brown in the trainer standings by five wins going into the final day of the meeting will saddle Mutasaabeq (5-2), who broke his maiden in his debut on Aug. 8.
“He had trained extremely well leading into that race,” Pletcher said. “His gate works were very impressive although his first step is not lightning quick. After that, he really gets going. I’m happy with everything he did prior to his debut, we were excited about the way he ran, we’ve been pointing for the Hopeful since then. He’s trained accordingly.”
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Saratoga Special Replay
The Hopeful has produced some produced a few really good horses over the years including Regret (1914), Man o’ War (1919), Whirlaway (1940), Native Dancer (1952), Nashua (1954), Needles (1955), Buckpasser (1965), Secretariat (1972), Foolish Pleasure (1974) and Affirmed (1978).
After closing day this afternoon, we have a 10-day break in the action in New York. Opening day for the Belmont Park meeting is Friday, Sept. 18.
Let’s head out to Saratoga for Monday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 13 The Hopeful G1 (5:50 ET)
5 Reinvestment Risk 8-5
6 Jackie’s Warrior 7-5
3 Mutasaabeq 5-2
2 Papetu 10-1
The son of Upstart was a good looking maiden winner here on Aug. 1. The Chad Brown trainee stalked the early pace while saving ground going down the back stretch shot up the inside and quickly opened up a clear lead, getting geared down but still winning by 7 3/4 lengths. The third-place finisher Olympiad came back to graduate in his next start on Saturday here. Four others exited the race to run back and not running in the money. The colt should get a sharp early pace in front of him and he looks as if he still has some upside. The $280,000 Ocala purchase is by Upstart out of a Candy Ride mare and the extra furlong here should suit him.
The Asmussen trainee is perfect in two starts and the lone stakes winner in the field, taking the Saratoga Special (G2) last out in gate to wire fashion, edging clear to win by three lengths. She graduated two back at Churchill Downs in a sharp effort at 2-1 in a seven-horse field going five furlongs. The runner up graduated in his next start at Keeneland by 8 1/4 lengths and after a second in the Saratoga Special was fourth in the Iroquois (G3) at Churchill Downs on Saturday. The Asmussen trainee owns the edge in early and mid pace numbers and the extra furlongs here is the main question. The barn is hitting at a 26% clip overall in juvenile races this year and 5 for 21 here at this meet (24%). Asmussen won this race last year with Basin.
This colt tracked the early pace from the outside and took over in upper stretch, drawing away to break his maiden by 4 1/2 lengths in his debut as the chalk. None he beat have come back yet to run back. The $425,000 Keeneland purchase is by hot sire Into Mischief out of a Scat Daddy mare, this her first foal to race. He earned a solid number in his debut and should have no issue handling the extra ground.