High-octane two-year-olds clash in Bob Hope

The Grade III, $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes anchors the action at Del Mar this Saturday. The seven-furlong dirt dash drew six juvenile sprinters, led by multiple stakes winner RUN AWAY and Bob Baffert up-and-comer MOURINHO. They’ll also have to deal with Speakeasy Stakes winner BEAUTIFUL SHOT. The Bob Hope goes as Race 5 with an estimated post time of 5:30 p.m. EST. In addition to watching and wagering, feel free to give FanXT’s Daily Fantasy Jockey game at try.

#2 MOURINHO (9-5) was caught late in the Speakeasy by BEAUTIFUL SHOT after setting suicidal early fractions. Newly-appointed pilot Drayden Van Dyke will attempt to relax the speedy MOURINHO early and have something left as he picks up an extra furlong today. RUN AWAY will likely keep him honest but MOURINHO shouldn’t have to exhaust himself to maintain the advantage. He’s been training sharply, so look for MOURINHO to break through for his first stakes score.

#3 RUN AWAY (8-5, morning-line favorite) started his career 3-for-3, with his signature win occurring at this course in the Best Pal. Unfortunately, he didn’t take the necessary step forward in the Del Mar Juvenile and was trounced by highly-regarded Bolt D’Oro. He bounced back for a stakes win at Los Al but only won by a head against a soft field. RUN AWAY is fast enough to compete in this spot but others with higher upside entice more. Flavien Prat has the call.

#5 BEAUTIFUL SHOT (5-2) and Kent Desormeaux took advantage of an ideal setup to win the Speakeasy last month. He may not get that kind of pace to close into this time around, so he can’t be counted on to replicate that performance unless he improves in his third career start. He has every right to do so, but look for decent odds before backing him.

The play: $4 trifecta 2/3,5/3,5, $2 trifecta 3/2,5/2,5 ($12)

DFJ analysis: Flavien Prat has five mounts on Saturday, four of which are 3-1 or below in odds. He also has a quality stakes mount in RUN AWAY in the Bob Hope. Prat could easily expand his lead in the Del Mar rider standings.

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