Bob Hope Stakes

Bob Hope Stakes

If there is a two year-old stakes race on the west coast, it's a safe assumption Bob Baffert will be training a top contender. This is certainly the case Sat, Nov.17 at Del Mar as the white-haired wizard will send a pair of live shots to post in the Grade 3 Bob Hope Stakes.

Metropol (4/1) and Mucho Gusto (5/2) fit the profile of most youngsters of note from the Baffert barn. Both are high-priced and precocious, and both notched good-looking debut wins. Baffert is far from a lock in this race, however, as at least three serious challengers will oppose his pair.

Let’s take a look at the field.

Betting Tips

Analyzing the field

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  1. 1-Metropol 4/1
  2. 2-Extra Hope 7/2
  3. 3-Mucho Gusto5/2
  4. 4-Savagery 4/1
  5. 5-Owning 15/1
  6. 6-Sparky Ville 3/1
  7. 7-Sueno 15/1

Of the Baffert runners, I’m drawn to Mucho Gusto, who was purchased at auction last May for $625,000 and didn’t disappoint in his first start, pulling away by 4 impressive lengths after setting fast fractions Sept.20 at Los Alamitos. He’s done nothing but train forwardly at Santa Anita since that effort and could control the early stages of the race.

Mucho Gusto will be challenged early by the Peter Miller-trained Savagery, who set wicked splits in a state-bred stakes race Oct.21 at Santa Anita before finishing second to Sparky Villle. Savagery and Sparky Ville are nice runners, but I prefer to look elsewhere for the winner.

I like what Extra Hope did last-out, winning at a mile and one sixteenth against maidens at Santa Anita while wearing blinkers for the first time. He projects as an off-the-pace threat in this race for Hall of Fame trainer Richard Mandella.

Extra Hope Bob Hope Stakes Odds
-7/2

The pick

Always tough to play against a really talented Baffert horse in these types of races, but that’s what you’ll have to do to cash. Give me Extra Hope at a square price. I think Prat fits this horse perfectly and I’ve always liked speed/stalker types turning back to one turn.