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Young talent will be in the Del Mar Thoroughbred Club spotlight Saturday when six two-year-old colts, all of them winners in their brief careers, will match strides in the featured $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes at seven furlongs.
Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who has sent out three of the five winners of the Bob Hope Stakes since the race's inauguration in 2014, will saddle two runners - Thousand Words, with Flavien Prat, and High Velocity, to be ridden by Drayden Van Dyke.
Thousand Words, a son of Pioneerof the Nile, won his career debut stylishly in late October, while stablemate High Velocity, by Quality Road, also scored first time out in mid-October at Santa Anita. Both were favored, Thousand Words at 13-10, and High Velocity at odds-on, 7-10.
Seeking to thwart the Baffert twosome will be Rager, a maiden winner on grass who will have Martin Garcia aboard; Howbeit, a two-time winner to be piloted by Rafael Bejarano; Zimba Warrior, who broke his maiden at the Fresno Fair, with Jose Valdivia to ride, and Strongconstitution, runner-up in the Sunny Slope Stakes, beaten only a neck by Fore Left, with Abel Cedillo scheduled aboard. Strongconstitution won his debut on grass last summer at Del Mar.
Post time for the first of nine races will be 12:30 p.m.
Race 8 at Del Mar on Saturday, November 16 - Post 7:03 PM
|2||Thousand Words||7-5||Flavien Prat
|3||Zimba Warrior||12-1||Jose Valdivia, Jr.
|4||High Velocity||5-2||Drayden Van Dyke
Hall of Famer Bob Baffert and six-time Del Mar training champion Doug O'Neill have double entries to comprise two-thirds of the field of six for Saturday's $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes, the first graded stakes of the Bing Crosby meeting.
Baffert has entered High Velocity and Thousand Words, both winners in racing debuts in October at Santa Anita for the seven-furlong Grade III event for 2-year-olds.
O'Neill's duo is Howbeit and Strongconstitution.
Howbeit, a Kentucky-bred son of Secret Circle owned by the C T R Stable, broke his maiden at Los Alamitos in September at 5 ½ furlongs in his fourth start and followed that up with a six furlong victory last month at Santa Anita.
Strongconstitution, a son of Constitution owned in partnership by Roadrunner Racing and SayjayRacing, debuted with a front-running victory at five furlongs on turf at Del Mar on August 23 and returned with a runner-up effort, beaten a neck by Fore Left, in the 6 ½-furlong Sunny Slope Stakes in October at Santa Anita.
Strongconstitution should have run on Monday, Veteran's Day, don't you think?" O'Neill assistant Leandro Mora said Thursday morning. "But, no racing.
"In our opinion he's the one to beat, but you never know. We were thinking of running Howbeit in a (lower level) race but Doug and the owners saw that this one was not filling, so they decided to take a shot.
"He (Howbeit) is a good horse. He's moving up the ladder and learning."
The field from the rail: Rager (Martin Garcia, 12-1), Howbeit (Rafael Bejarano, 12-1), Thousand Words (Flavien Prat, 7-5), Zimba Warrior (Jose Valdivia, Jr., 12-1), High Velocity (Drayden Van Dyke, 5-2) and Strongconstitution (Abel Cedillo, 9-5).
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