Action from Del Mar, Churchill Downs, and Aqueduct highlighted another exciting weekend of racing around the country, including a 2-year-old horse to watch from trianer Bob Baffert. Here are the three most noteworthy horses from last week after all was said and done:
1. High Velocity
As stated in the opening paragraph, Bob Baffert picked up a big win with a 2-year-old last Saturday when High Velocity took home the Bob Hope Stakes (G3) at Del Mar. The Gary and Mary West-owned colt wasted no time going to the lead right out of the gate, setting fractions of :23.1 and :46.3 down the backside. At the top of the stretch, he was joined by Strongconstitution, who looked to be the winner in mid-stretch. High Velocity re-broke, though, before kicking clear for a 1 1/4-length victory. The most exiting part of the race could have been High Velocity’s gallop out; the young horse was striding beautifully, suggesting that he might be even stronger when running in longer races down the road.
2. Mr. Misunderstood
The defending champion of the River City Handicap (G3) returned to Churchill Downs on Saturday and successfully earned a victory in this spot for the second straight season. That horse was Mr. Misunderstood, who was able to win the race in a tight finish by a neck. He sat in mid-pack up the backside before making a wide rally in the stretch. The Brad Cox trainee grinded his way home, just inching clear of his rivals while approaching the wire. The win was his first in five starts this year to bring his total earnings up to $916,954. The logical goal now is for him to surpass the one-million dollar mark in 2020.
3. Big Q
The feature event at Aqueduct over the weekend was the $100,000 Key Cents Stakes for state-bred juvenile fillies. In the end, the Gary Gullo-trained Big Q made short work of the field, winning by 5 lengths under jockey Jose Lezcano. After stalking the early pace in second, the filly swung to the four path for the stretch run, then dominated her competition for the victory. A race like this could set her up for several stakes options next, including trying opening company at some point down the road. She could be starting to develop at the perfect time.