Hal's Hope Stakes 2014 Contenders & Odds

Dave Bond | OTB Writer

Las Vegas, NV - The Grade 3 Hal's Hope Stakes is on tap for this Saturday, January 11 from Gulfstream Park in beautiful Hallandale Beach, Florida. A purse of $100,000 will be on the line for horses four years old and upward willing to go one mile on Gulfstream Park's main track.

A field of 10 will line up in the Hal's Hope - race 10 on Gulfstream's Saturday card. Post time is 5:03 PM. Here is a look into the past performances of all 10 entries for this Grade 3, one turn stakes.

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2014 Hal's Hope Stakes Race Favorite Entries

Csaba - is the defending champion in this race. He enters having won two and finished second in the other two of his last four starts - the biggest of the wins coming in the Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper Handicap at Calder December 7 and the best of the seconds coming last time out in the minor Harlan's Holiday Stakes on this track December 22. Csaba was at his best at this time last year when he won five of six starts - he looks close to getting back to that form as the new year starts. He is also entered in the Ft. Lauderdale but will likely choose the Hal's Hope. Csaba is the 121 pound highweight and leaves from post 2 with Paco Lopez in the saddle.

Uncaptured - Mark Casse trained colt ended 2012 with a bang with wins in the Grade 3 Iroquois and the Grade 2 Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes and was good in 2013 as well with a win, three seconds and two thirds in eight starts in five starts - the lone poor performance came in the Grade 1 Blue Grass Stakes when he finished tenth. Last time out was a troubled third minor Delta Mile Stake November 23 after a fifth in the Grade 2 Indiana Derby October 5. He also had a third in the Grade 3 Smarty Jones Stakes at Parx September 2 after a win in the minor Prince of Whales Stakes at Fort Erie and a second to Code West in the Grade 3 Matt Winn Stakes at Churchill Downs in June. He has an impressive seven wins, three seconds and two third place finishes in 15 career starts and has reportedly been training well ahead of this weekend. Joel Rosario gets the call from post 9.

Hal's Hope Stakes 2014 | Remaining Contenders

Simmstown - Martin Wolfson trainee races in graded stakes company for the first time Saturday but enters on a two race win streak. Last time out was a win in the minor Kenny Noe Jr. Handicap at Calder with a 100 Beyer Speed Figure December 14 after an Allowance Optional Claiming score October 5 on this track at this distance. He has three wins in his last four starts - those three represent 3/4 of his career victories.

Jackson Bend - was impressive in 2011 and the early part of 2012 during a streak of four wins, a second and three third place finishes in eight starts including wins in the 2011 Forego, the 2012 Hal's Hope and the Grade 1 Carter Handicap. He also had a third in the 2011 Breeders' Cup Sprint during that time. He fell off a bit toward the end of 2012 before injury sent Jackson Bend to the sideline for nine months. He returned June 8 to a fifth in the minor Ponche Handicap at Calder and followed that with an OK third in the Grade 2 Smile Sprint Handicap also at Calder. Jackson Bend finished a good second in the Grade 1 Forego in April but failed to place in his next two starts. Last time out was another second with an eye-opening 102 Beyer Speed Figure in the minor Sunshine State Stakes here December 8. He hasn't won since the 2012 Carter Handicap in April 2012 and hasn't had the results lately. Javier Castellano has the mount.

Nikki's Sandcastle - has 35 career starts with 9 wins - the biggest coming last time out in the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland October 26. He had a two race win streak to end 2012 as well - the El Prado Stakes December 22 here and the Starter Stakes December 1 also at Gulfstream. Nikki's Sandcastle had has struggled lately however before his latest score - a pair of sixths including the Grade 2 Mac Diarmida in February was followed by a third in an Allowance Optional Claiming at Arlington Park August 17. He has been up and down in his career; he finished fourth Ft. Lauderdale last year and will be looking to build on his impressive win last time out. He, like Csaba is entered in the Ft. Lauderdale also at Gulfstream.

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Lea - Albert Stall trained colt has 10 career starts and has hit the board in all except his last two starts - a fourth in the Grade 1 Forego Stakes at Saratoga August 31 and a fifth last time out in the Grade 2 Fayette Stakes at Keeneland October 26. His results include four wins, two seconds and two third place finishes. He was a respectable third in the Grade 2 Fourstardave August 10 after a decent second in the Grade 2 Firecracker Handicap behind Wise Dan at Churchill Downs June 29 and he recorded two straight wins before that - the best of which coming in the Grade 3 Commonwealth Turf Stakes in November. He is a competitive horse and could challenge Saturday.

Purple Egg - has 8 career starts for trainer Jane Cibelli - he won his first three - the minor Inaugural Stakes over the impressive Brave Dave at Tampa Bay December 1, an Allowance in September here and a MSW in his career debut at Monmouth in August. He had five starts in 2013 - a ninth in the Grade 2 Tampa Bay Derby in March, a third in the minor Trippi Stakes at Belmont Park in April, a fifth in the minor Aljamin Stakes in September a nice win in the Barbaro Stakes at Delaware Park in October and a fifth last time out in the minor Harlan's Holiday Stakes on this track December 22.

Neck `n Neck - had just two starts in 2013 - last time out was a fourth in the minor Harlan's Holiday Stakes here December 22 after an OK third in the Michael G. Schaefer Memorial at Indiana Downs in October. He did have an impressive two race win streak before an 11 month layoff - the Grade 3 Ack Ack Handicap November 2012 and the Grade 2 Indiana Derby a month before that. Neck `n Neck has five wins, two seconds and a third place finish and will be looking to get back to the form that saw him dominate toward the end of 2012.

Strike One - races in stakes company for the first time Saturday but is riding a two race win streak into the Hal's Hope. Last time out was an Allowance Optional Claiming November 28 after an Allowance score in September - both results at Churchill Downs. Strike one has three wins, a second and a third place finish in nine career starts but looks ready for a step up in class.

Goodtimehadbyall - has 47 career starts with eight wins, six seconds and nine third place finishes. Saturday marks just his second graded stakes start - the first coming in June 2011 - a sixth in the Grade 3 Ohio Derby. Last time out was a Starter Stakes score on this track December 7 after a fifth in an Allowance and a third in a Starter Handicap in September. He also placed in five straight this spring/summer including two straight Allowance Optional Claiming scores in August and September.

2014 Hal's Hope Stakes Entries & Odds

Race 10 on Gulfstream Park's Saturday card with a Post Time of 5:03 PM.

Entry Horse Jockey Trainer ML Odds
1 Simmstown E. Zayas M. Wolfson
2 Csaba P. Lopez P. Gleaves
3 Strike One C. Lanerie B. Walsh
4 Jackson Bend J. Castellano S. Gold
5 Nikki's Sandcastle A. Jaen D. Kassen
6 Lea L. Saez W. Mott
7 Neck 'n Neck J. Leparoux I. Wilkes
8 Goodtimehadbyall K. Carmouche J. Navarro
9 Uncaptured J. Rosario M. Casse
10 Purple Egg J. Rocco, Jr. J. Cibelli

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