The Grade III, $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes is the centerpiece of Saturday’s nine-race card at Del Mar. The seven-furlong event for two-year-olds drew an intriguing but short field of six. Estimated post time for the Bob Hope, scheduled as Race 8, is 7 p.m. ET.
#3 THOUSAND WORDS (7-5, morning-line favorite) ran to his $1 million purchase price on debut, winning with a strong speed figure for Bob Baffert. He makes a somewhat quick three-week turnaround for the Bob Hope but will only pick up another half-furlong. If THOUSAND WORDS improves even slightly off his initial try he’ll be awfully tough to beat on Saturday. Flavien Prat maintains the assignment.
#6 STRONGCONSTITUTION (9-5) beat just two others while running second in the Sunny Slope Stakes at Santa Anita last time out but earned a solid speed figure while doing so. Prior to that he broke his maiden while sprinting on turf. STRONGCONSTITUTION fired a bullet in preparation for the Bob Hope and gets a rider upgrade to Abel Cedillo. This outside draw gives his jockey options. Being by Constitution, this Doug O’Neill trainee should handle the 1/16th-mile stretchout.
#5 HIGH VELOCITY (5-2) won by a pair of lengths as the odds-on favorite in a five-horse, 5 1/2-furlong maiden event last month. The stablemate to the top choice gets a positive jockey change to Drayden Van Dyke but must negotiate the extra distance and improve a bit speed figure-wise.
#1 RAGER (12-1) didn’t have the easiest of trips on debut but won anyway at 19-1. The son of Into Mischief is a wild card stepping onto the dirt course for the first time. Martin Garcia rides RAGER, who could offer value underneath.
The play: $1 trifecta 3/1,5,6/1,5,6, $2 trifecta 3/5,6/5,6 ($10)
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