High Velocity scoots onto Derby lists with Bob Hope Stakes score

November 16, 2019 07:12pm
High Velocity scoots onto Derby lists with Bob Hope Stakes score
Photo: Benoit

High Velocity went from maiden special weight winner to an unbeaten stakes horse to watch from the Bob Baffert barn on Saturday, prevailing in what was essentially a match race edition of the Grade 3, $100,000 Bob Hope.

Strongconstitution, the 4-5 favorite, pressed outside of High Velocity until those two hit the top of the stretch evenly. But under jockey Drayden Van Dyke, even-money High Velocity had full measure of his rival, edging away late.

“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 that other horse came to him he dug in and took off again. And that’s a nice horse that ran second.”


With a final time of 1:23.16 for the seven furlongs, High Velocity positioned himself to hit the Kentucky Derby trail similar to Baffert’s 2018 Bob Hope winner, Mucho Gusto, who’s multiple Grade 1-placed.

Behind Strongconstitution, Zimba Warrior and Rager completed the running order.



Two horses scratched, including the 7-5 morning line favorite Thousand Words, to leave a field of just four. Thousand Words is a Baffert stablemate of the winner, with both looking like candidates for the Dec. 7 Los Alamitos Futurity (G2).

High Velocity, who entered off a 5 1/2-furlong debut win at Santa Anita Park, broke on top in the Bob Hope, carving out opening fractions of 23.28 seconds for the quarter mile and 46.60 for the half, never trailing.

“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 (Baffert) that he was just hitting his best stride as we went past the wire. He’s a nice one.”


Gary and Mary West, who have teamed with Baffert on horses such as the champion 2-year-old Game Winner, campaign High Velocity, a son of Quality Road fetched for $350,000 as a yearling at auction.

High Velocity was Baffert's record 10th winner of a race formerly known as the Hollywood Prevue.

 

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