SARATOGA SPRINGS, NY – Trainer Steve Asmussen hit the trifecta Monday when Basin led his two stablemates across the wire to win the $350,000 Runhappy Hopeful Stakes (G1) at Saratoga.
Breaking from post 7 under Jose Ortiz at 3/1 odds, Basin raced three-wide slightly off of the early front-frunners Gozilla and American Butterfly. The lead duo raced through opening fractions of :22.66 and :45.84 heading into the far turn.
Still out in the clear as he straightened for home, Basin raced a bit greenly initially but soon took off with commanding strides. Clearing away sharply in the stretch, Basin crossed 6 1/2 lengths the best in a final time of 1:23.48 for the 7-furlong sprint over the sloppy (sealed) main track.
“I saw them going at it and it was the first time going 7 furlongs, so you’ve got to be a little careful,” Ortiz said. “I just took my time. I could have moved a little earlier, but I didn’t want to since they were fighting. I gave my horse a really nice breather from the 1/2-mile to the 1/4-pole, and that made a difference. I made just one move with him.”
Shoplifted came running late to nail the 6/5 favorite Gozilla for second by a neck to give Asmussen the trifecta. American Butterfly, By Your Side, and Inside Risk completed the order of finish. Green Light Go, the morning line favorite, was a morning-of scratch.
Basin’s win was his second straight, having broken his maiden here on July 21 while going 6 furlongs. The 2-year-old son of Liam’s Map now carries a record of 3-2-1-0 with $261,000 earned for owner Jackpot Farm.
“I think that the day suited him with the post-position draw and the way that it came out,” Asmussen said. “Those are three very talented horses, and hopefully, that’s the last time they’ll run against each other for a while. I’ve always been surprised with how much speed (Basin) showed. Physically and pedigree-wise, we were excited about him running long and we were surprised at how sharp he was the first time he ran.”
Basin returned $8.20 to win, $4 to place, and $2.60 to show. Shoplifted brought back $3.80 to place and $2.60 to show, while Gozilla paid $2.40 to show.