The Hopeful Stakes is an American Thoroughbred horse race run annually at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, New York. Open to two-year-old horses, the Hopeful is the first Grade I stakes for two-year-olds each season and historically has been a showcase for some of the top East Coast horses at that age group. Raced on the dirt over a distance of seven furlongs, the Grade I event offers a purse of $250,000.
The race is currently part of the Breeders' Cup Challenge series. The winner will automatically qualify for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. Inaugurated in 1903, the first edition was won by Delhi. In 1904, the Hopeful Stakes was won by the filly Tanya who would go on to win one of the American Classic Races the following year. Initially raced at a distance of six furlongs, from 1925 through 1993 it was run at six and a half furlongs and since 1994 at seven furlongs. Currently, the Hopeful Stakes is the first influential prep race leading up to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and since 1925 has been a competition that marks the first time two-year-olds are tested at a distance beyond six furlongs. The name stems from the hope every two-year-old handlers have for their horse's racing future.
Due to the State of New York's legislated ban on parimutuel betting, there was no race in 1911 and 1912. During World War II, the Hopeful Stakes was run at Belmont Park in 1943, 1944, and 1945.
Only four horses have ever won all three Saratoga Racecourse events for two-year-olds. Regret (1914), Campfire (1916), Dehere (1993), and City Zip (2000) each swept the Hopeful Stakes, Saratoga Special Stakes, and the Sanford Stakes. Since 2008, the race has been sponsored by Three Chimneys Farm of Midway, Kentucky.