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DEL MAR, CA – After a string of tough-luck runner-up efforts against tougher company, trainer Bob Baffert’s Spielberg steps back up to the graded stakes ranks in Sunday’s $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar.
The Bob Hope is a 7-furlong dirt sprint restricted to 2-year-olds. This year’s edition is the penultimate event on a 9-race card and has a local post time of 4:00 PM.
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Here’s a look at the full field for the Bob Hope:
1. Ambivalent 7/2 – He sheds the blinkers here after sporting them in his past 2 starts, the Champagne Stakes (G1) (finished sixth) and the Del Mar Juvenile Turf Stakes (third). Though he’s still a maiden, trainer Doug O’Neill has always aggressively placed this $550k auction purchase: his second career start came in the Best Pal Stakes (G2), where he finished third.
2. Spielberg 6/5 – He needed 4 tries before getting across the wire first, a rarity for a $1 million-purchased Baffert runner, but in the Union Rags colt’s defense, 2 of those came in the Del Mar Futurity (G1) and the American Pharoah (G1). He broke his maiden just 2 weeks ago in a 1-mile local route and garnered an 85 Beyer Speed Figure, best in this field.
3. Weston 3/1 – He won his first 2 career starts, including the local 6-furlong Best Pal, but he struggled to a third-place finish in the Del Mar Futurity while stretching out to this same distance. Off since that September 7 event, the Ryan Hanson trainee was the first son of Hit It a Bomb to win and to take a stakes title – will he also become his first multi-stakes champ?
4. Coastal Kid 15/1 – He adds blinkers for his inaugural trek south to California after making 2 starts at Emerald Downs, where he broke his maiden on debut going 6 furlongs but couldn’t duplicate that in the 1 1/16-mile Gottstein Futurity. Owner/trainer Jeff Metz has won 3 of his past 10 when making similar equipment changes.
5. Red Flag 6/1 – He returns to dirt after breaking his maiden on the Santa Anita Park turf, showing determination to rally for a neck score in the 5 1/2-furlong sprint. He needs to overcome his history of gate issues, having broken slowly in both career starts including a 5 1/2-furlong debut over this course 2 months ago that saw him finish a well-beaten fifth.
6. Uncle Boogie 5/1 – He was a runaway winner on debut, taking a 5 1/2-furlong dirt sprint at Santa Anita Park by 6 1/4 lengths while being risked for a $32k tag. He stepped up to face starter allowance foes while covering that same distance over the local main track and finished second by 1 length, plus the summer meet’s leading rider Flavien Prat hops aboard here.
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