2024 Palos Verdes Stakes Entries at Santa Anita
BAFFERT'S HOPKINS BACK TO DEFEND HIS PALOS VERDES TITLE
With a recent race under his belt, Bob Baffert's Hopkins should be very tough as he defends his title in Saturday's Grade III, $100,000 Palos Verdes Stakes at Santa Anita Park. A race that for many years served as Santa Anita's traditional opening day headliner, the Palos Verdes, which will be run for the 72nd time, has attracted a field of five older sprinters.
A lightly raced full horse at age six, Hopkins had been idle nearly nine months prior to running second, beaten 1 ¼ lengths as the 4-5 favorite in a six furlong classified allowance here on Jan. 19. A close fourth going six furlongs in the Grade I Golden Shaheen in Dubai March 25, Hopkins notched his first stakes win two starts back when taking the Palos Verdes on Feb. 5, 2023 with Juan Hernandez, who aside from the Golden Shaheen, had ridden him exclusively in eight out of his nine career starts.
2024 Palos Verdes Stakes Field & Odds
Race 2 at Santa Anita on Saturday, February 10 - Post 4:00 PM
|The Big Wam
|Big City Lights
|See Through It
With Hernandez back in the saddle Saturday, Hopkins, who is by Quality Road out of the Salt Lake mare Hot Spell, should be tough to deny in his second start off the bench.
Owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madaket Stables, LLC, et al, Hopkins is 9-3-4-0 with earnings of $359,700.
The lone California-bred in the field, Richard Mandella's Big City Lights, a 5-year-old full horse by Mr. Big, comes off an impressive second condition allowance win going six and a half furlongs in open company Jan. 6, a race in which he earned a career-top 98 Beyer Speed Figure.
A two-time stakes winner with four runner-up performances in statebred stakes competition, Big City Lights will be ridden back by a red-hot Flavien Prat, who bagged three stakes wins this past Saturday and is currently tied with 23 wins atop the jockey standings with Hernandez.
Out of the Exchange Rate mare Champagne Exchange, Big City Lights, who is owned by William Peoples, has four wins and as many seconds from eight starts, good for earnings of $332,420.
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JOCKEY FLAVIEN PRAT WINS 3 GRADED STAKES & LEADS NATION IN EARNINGS
It's been a banner start to 2024 for jockey Flavien Prat, who last Saturday won three of the four graded stakes contested at Santa Anita. Entering this week's action, Prat is tops in the nation in earnings among jockeys with $3,292,550.
Prat's wins Saturday came in the GII Robert B. Lewis with Nysos ($2.20), GII Santa Monica with Three Witches ($5.20) and GIII Megahertz with Bellabel ($5.80). Those victories added to his previous graded stakes wins this year in the GI Pegasus World Cup with National Treasure at Gulfstream Park and both the GIII La Canada with Desert Dawn and GIII Santa Ynez aboard Kopion, both at Santa Anita.
Prat's closest pursuer in earnings this year is Irad Ortiz Jr with $2,495,892.
Prat, who is represented by agent Brad Pegram, has six rides booked for Saturday's 10-race card at Santa Anita. His notable mounts include Big City Lights, the even-money favorite in the GIII Palos Verdes, and 6-5 second choice Kopion in the GIII Las Virgenes Stakes. Both horses are trained by Richard Mandella.
Prat, a 31-year-old native of France, has been riding full time in the U.S. since 2015. He has 1,659 wins in North America with more than $158 million in earnings. Prat's victories include the 2019 Kentucky Derby with Country House via disqualification, 2021 Preakness with Rombauer, and five Breeders' Cup wins including the 2022 Classic with Flightline.
FINISH LINES: Full training is set to resume Friday morning...Due to the Super Bowl, first post Sunday is 11 a.m...Sunday's scheduled feature is the Sweet Life Stakes for 3-year-old fillies on the hillside turf course...Flavien Prat and Juan Hernandez enter this week's action tied atop the jockey's standings with 23 wins each at the Classic Meet...Saturday's $1 Pick Six returned $9,703 to 11 winning tickets...Santa Anita will host a special Presidents' Day card Monday, Feb. 19.