Bob Hope Stakes Value Plays

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

November 19th, 2022

A talented field of seven juveniles will vie in Sunday’s $100,000 Bob Hope S. (G3) at Del Mar. The seven-furlong dirt dash is led by three players from the barn of two-year-old king Bob Baffert, but I will think outside the box and try to upend the formidable trio in the heat.

Tim Yakteen’s #6 Practical Move (5-1) has run three successive solid races to begin his career and seems like the most logical upset contender in the cast. By Practical Joke, the $230,000 two-year-old purchase ran into a pair of the top juveniles on the grounds this season. Following a second-place finish at first asking behind Grade 1 star Cave Rock, the Kentucky-bred held up well when checking in third in a special weight event behind National Treasure in his second assignment.

The April foal was elevated to a victory when running one mile at Santa Anita in his latest endeavor, and the colt will benefit from cutting back to seven-eighths in this spot. A bullet five-furlong morning drill last weekend will have the youngster ready to deliver his best shot on Sunday at a nice price. Regular rider Drayden Van Dyke will retain the mount.

Baffert’s #7 Newgate (5-2) made two ventures into the Grade 1 ranks following a smart debut victory and received a perfect outside draw for his first appearance sans blinkers. The Into Mischief colt was too impressive at first asking to give up on just yet, and I expect the equipment change to move this youngster forward on Sunday with John Velazquez staying in the silks. The Kentucky-bred could be more relaxed early on at a decent number.

#2 Havnameltdown (6-5) is the one to beat following a trio of excellent performances to kickstart his career for Baffert. The $200,000 son of Uncaptured went wire-to-wire in two races at Del Mar to begin his season, led by a facile tally in the Best Pal S. (G3), and the bay checked in second in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) in his latest endeavor. Bred in the Sunshine State, the colt has substantial early speed and will likely be the one to run down turning for home with Juan Hernandez in the stirrups.

Bob Hope Wagers

$10 win and place: #6 Practical Move ($20)

$2 trifecta: 6 with 2,7 with all ($20)

$2 trifecta: 6,7 with 6,7 with all ($20)