Closing day at Saratoga is here on Monday with a field of seven two-year-olds headed to the starting gate in the $350,000 Hopeful (G1) at seven furlongs on the main track.
First run in 1903, the Hopeful is the first Grade 1 race for juvenile colts and geldings in 2019 and a springboard to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) at Santa Anita.
Among those that have won the Hopeful include Whirlaway, Native Dancer, Needles, Secretariat and Affirmed.
The Jimmy Jerkens trained Green Light Go is the 8-5 morning line favorite. The colt wo the Saratoga Special (G2) in his last outing over the Spa main track on Aug. 10.
“He likes it up here. It looks like he thrived up here and it’s not a big jump up in distance, but it’s got him going up in distance in little increments,” Jerkens said. “I like that. I think it’s good for 2-year-olds as opposed to going from one extreme to the other. He’s a big strong colt so if any horse can do it, it’s him. Running once a month with gradual distance increases should be good.”
Trainer Steve Asmussen will send out three of the seven runners in the field—Shoplifted (4-1), Gozilla (5-2) and Basin (5-1). The trainer has not won the Hopeful.
One trainer with a runner in the field that has is Hall of Fame trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who sends out American Beauty (15-1), who broke his maiden over the Spa main track on Aug. 17. Lukas has won the Hopeful a record eight times, most recently with Sporting Chance in 2017.
Completing the field is Sanford (G3) winner By Your Side (6-1) and Inside Risk (30-1), who was claimed by Tom Morley out of her maiden breaker in her debut for a $50,000 tag.
The Hopeful goes off as the 10th race on a 11-race card that also includes the $250,000 Bernard Baruch Handicap (G2).
Let’s head out to Saratoga for Monday’s featured race of the day:
Saratoga Race 10 The Hopeful (G1) Post time 5:39 ET
7 Basin 5-1
3 Green Light Go 8-5
5 By Your Side 6-1
4 Gozilla 5-2
The colt is one of three sent out here by the Steve Asmussen barn. The colt missed by a tough head in his debut at Churchill Downs, beaten by By Your Side, who returned to win the Sanford (G3) in his next start and is in this field, Our top pick came back to graduate smartly in his second career start over the main track here on July 21. The runner up Three Technique came back to graduate on yesterday’s card and the seventh-place finisher American Butterfly broke his maiden on Aug. 17 and is in the field here. Our top pick owns solid early and mid pace numbers and should be able to work out a trip breaking from the outside. The extra furlong should not pose a problem for him.
Green Light Go
This colt is undefeated in two starts. He broke his maiden at Belmont Park in his debut and was flattered when the runner up Another Miracle came back to graduate in his next start and then win the Skidmore here on Aug. 16. The Jerkens trainee stalked the early pace, took command and won for fun last out in the Saratoga Special (G2) where he won by 3 ¾ lengths but he was geared down late. The colt has come back with a couple of sharp works since his last effort and is the deserving favorite. This guy should only get better with more ground.
By Your Side
Trained by Eddie Kenneally, this colt is undefeated in two starts. He broke his maiden in his debut by a nose at Churchill Downs. The runner up was Basin, who broke his maiden next out and is our pick in here. Next up came the Sanford (G3) where he prompted the early pace and drew clear late to win by three lengths. The barn has been sending out live runners at the meeting and this guy looks capable of moving forward off his last effort. The $240,000 Keeneland purchase is by Constitution out of a Dixie Union mare.
WIN: Basin to win at 7-2 or better.
EXACTA: 3,7 / 3,4,5,7
TRIFECTA: 3,7 / 3,4,5,7 / 1,3,4,5,7