The Grade I, $350,000 Hopeful Stakes is the closing day feature at Saratoga. Seven aspiring two-year-olds will do battle over seven furlongs on what might be a muddy main course. Post time for the Hopeful, Race 10 of 11 on Monday afternoon, is 5:39 p.m. ET.
#7 BASIN (5-1) earned a strong speed figure when he broke his maiden at second asking over this course. The six-furlong victory occurred over a well-regarded next-out winner in Three Technique. BASIN is training forwardly for the Hopeful for Steve Asmussen, who also sends out SHOPLIFTED and GOZILLA. Jose Ortiz, the leading rider at “The Spa,” should have BASIN in a good stalking position before moving late.
#3 GREEN LIGHT GO (8-5, morning-line favorite) is 2-for-2 for trainer Jimmy Jerkens, winning by open lengths each time. That includes his emphatic score in the Saratoga Special last time out. He continues to work sharply in the mornings and keeps Junior Alvarado aboard. GREEN LIGHT GO is a logical alternative to the top choice.
#4 GOZILLA (5-2) went gate-to-wire at odds-on in his Saratoga debut last month. Ricardo Santana Jr. had his choice of the Asmussen trio and opted to stay aboard this son of Flatter. GOZILLA will be asked to carry his speed an extra furlong in the Hopeful, which could be his undoing. He’s best used underneath.
#1 SHOPLIFTED (4-1) gets an undesirable rail draw for his second career start on the heels of a runaway score going 5 1/2 furlongs over this course on July 27. The $800,000 son of Into Mischief is bred to be a pure sprinter, and seven panels may be too big an ask this early in his career. SHOPLIFTED switches to Joel Rosario in the Hopeful.
The play: $3 exacta box 3/7, $4 win 7 ($10)
Follow me on Twitter: @itsgood2beking