How to bet the Hopeful Stakes

Profile Picture: Vance Hanson

September 1st, 2018

Mucho (c) Teresa Genaro

A field of eight will contest the $350,000 Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga, the meet-closing feature on Labor Day. The winner figures to come from a group of five: Sanford (G3) victor Sombeyay (#1) and last-out graduates Mind Control (#2), Nitrous (#3), Dream Maker (#5) and Mucho (#7).

Sombeyay is the most experienced of the quintet, having won on debut back in April at Gulfstream Park. He followed up with a second in the $150,000 Tremont at Belmont Park and a photo-finish score in the Sanford.

Mind Control's made his two starts at Delaware Park and Monmouth Park. Prior to his three-length win at the Jersey shore, Mind Control was second-best in a Delaware maiden to eventual Saratoga Special (G2) winner Call Paul.

Nitrous impressed on opening weekend at the Spa, going wire-to-wire in a 5 1/2-furlong maiden for Steve Asmussen. Dream Maker looked sharp himself at Churchill Downs back in early June, winning first up for Mark Casse by three lengths.

The biggest "wow" perhaps belongs to Mucho, the Bill Mott-trained son of Blame who rolled to a 9 3/4-length victory on August 4. That came two months after running second in his Belmont debut.

If speed types Mind Control and Nitrous get to dueling early, Mucho could be the one to reap the benefits. Dream Maker could also be in the mix in that scenario, but the Casse barn has been rather cold at the Spa this summer, winning with only two of its first 55 starters with a combined 21 seconds and thirds.

As Mucho is the 8-5 morning-line favorite, there isn't much value to be had in the Win pool. We'll instead key on top in our exotic plans.

$10 Exactas
7 over 2,3,5 = $30

$1 Trifecta
7 over 2,3,5 over 1,2,3,5 = $9