How to bet the 2022 Hopeful Stakes

Profile Picture: John Mucciolo

September 3rd, 2022

An excellent field of six juveniles will go postward in the closing-day feature at Saratoga, the $300,000 Hopeful S. (G1) The seven-furlong dirt dash attracted some fascinating youngsters and might go a long way in determining championship honors at the conclusion of the season.

Steve Asmussen’s #4 Gulfport suffered his first setback when second to the impressive Damon’s Mound in the Saratoga Special (G2) last time out, but I will give the colt a pass for that and come back with him in this wildly competitive group. By Uncle Mo, the $275,000 yearling purchased was jaw-dropping in his first two starts at Churchill Downs, breaking his maiden for fun on debut prior to decimating his foes by 12 lengths in the Bashford Manor S.

Gulfport didn’t have a perfect voyage in his initial try on the surface most recently, but he should benefit from the experience and be tighter here. The April foal shows a pair of maintenance drills in advance of Monday, and he picks up money pilot Flavien Prat. Kentucky-bred will be forcing the pace from second or third while always in close attendance.

#3 Bourbon Bash, from the barn of D. Wayne Lukas, was a smashing maiden winner on the strip in his second assignment and looms as the one to catch in this dash. Son of smart young sire City of Light displayed substantial early speed and carried it to the wire on Aug. 13, and the colt will be tough to handle if he runs to his blazing drill over the Oklahoma in his most recent morning move. Tyler Gaffalione will be in the stirrups.

#6 Blazing Sevens didn’t set the teletimer on fire in his dominant maiden triumph at first asking, but he was quite impressive visually and has to be included as an off-the-pace candidate here. By Good Magic, the $225,000 yearling buy drew well while outside in the small field, and I envision him sitting off of a fast and contested pace to the top of the lane while always clear under Manny Franco. Kentucky-bred has posted four solid breezes in anticipation of his stakes debut.

Hopeful Wagers

  • $30 win #4 Gulfport ($30)
  • $10 trifecta key 4 with 3,6 ($20)