HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Paul Pompa Jr.’s Tommy Macho returned to arguably his most successful course on Saturday to win his second Grade 3, $175,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes at Gulfstream Park.
Breaking alertly from post 8 under Luis Saez, Tommy Macho stalked the early leader Moves Like Ali through initial fractions of :24.09 and :46.57. Taking command three-wide with 2 furlongs to go, Tommy Macho began edging away from most of the field while holding off a game Conquest Big E to win by 3/4 of a length in a final time of 1:36.10 for the mile-long main track event.
“That stretch run was really impressive,” Saez said. “He was really ready for this race today. He broke well, we got a perfect position, and when we hit the stretch, he just took off.”
Tale of Silence was the best of the rest, finishing third while 5 lengths past Giuseppe the Great. A photo finish for fifth was awarded to Frammento, who was a neck past First Growth. The remaining order was made up of Beasley, Eight Town, and Moves Like Ali. Game Over and Dreaming of Gold were scratched.
Tommy Macho, the winner of the 2016 edition nearly 4 lengths, improved his record to 19-6-1-7, including 5-3-0-2 at Gulfstream Park. The Todd Pletcher-trained 6-year-old son of Macho Uno increased his career earnings to $888,320.
“He’s a cool horse,” Pletcher said. “I give the horse a lot of credit. He loves Gulfstream. He loves the one-turn mile. He’s been awfully good to us.”
Tommy Macho returned $6.20 to win, $4.40 to place, and $3 to show. Conquest Big E brought back $11.60 to place and $6.20 to show, while Tale of Silence paid $3.40 to show.