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DEL MAR, CA – Gary and Mary West’s High Velocity dueled early with Strongconstitution before outgunning that foe in the stretch to win Saturday’s $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar.
Breaking alertly from post 5 under Drayden Van Dyke as the even-money second shot on the board, High Velocity sped ahead of his two inner foes and secured command. To his outside, the 4/5 favorite Strongconstitution kept close watch as the two posted opening fractions of :23.28 and :46.60.
Midway through the far turn, Strongconstitution made his bid and looked poised to pull away at the top of the stretch. High Velocity had other plans, though, and fought back gamely along the inside.
Finding his best strides late, High Velocity pulled away to win by 1 1/4 lengths. The Bob Baffert trainee completed the 7-furlong event over the fast main track in a final time of 1:23.16.
“I was loaded all the way,” Van Dyke said. “He’s a fast horse, I knew that; I broke him out of the gate the other morning. I got away with some pretty easy fractions here, so I was feeling good about that. I told Bob that he was just hitting his best stride as we went past the wire. He’s a nice one.”
Strongconstitution, who missed by a neck last out in the Sunny Slope Stakes at Santa Anita Park on October 10, ran on strongly for his second straight runner-up effort. Zimba Warrior and Rager completed the order of finish after never factoring into the running. Howbeit and Thousand Words were both trainer scratches.
High Velocity’s win was his second in as many starts after breaking his maiden while going 5 1/5 furlongs over the Santa Anita Park main track on October 13. The 2-year-old son of Quality Road, who posted four strong 5-furlong workouts after his debut, has now earned $90,000.
“He handled everything well for his second out,” Baffert said. “It’s always a tough test after you break a maiden and he didn’t have a lot of time between races, but the way he worked, we thought he would run well. I liked the way that when (Strongconstitution) came to him, he dug in and took off again. And that’s a nice horse that ran second.”
High Velocity returned $4 to win and $2.10 to place, while Strongconstitution paid $2.10 to place. There was no show betting.
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