How to find value in Hopeful Stakes, Del Mar Futurity bets

September 02, 2018 12:15pm
The morning line favorites look strong in Monday's Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga and Grade 1 Del Mar Futurity.

Mucho is the Hopeful favorite, and for good reason. Following a solid runner-up finish in his June 10 debut at Belmont, he shipped to Saratoga and ran off the screen in a scintillating 9+ length triumph at six furlongs Aug. 4. The promising Bill Mott runner drew well and projects an outer stalking trip under Jose Ortiz.

I do not know if Dream Maker can beat Mucho, but he should continue to improve as distances increase. The son of Tapit, out of a Monarchos mare, circled the field in a sharp last-to-first victory in his Churchill Downs debut June 7, and three runners from that heat were next out winners. Mark Casse's colt drilled a Saratoga gate bullet for this engagement on Aug. 15, and will try to get involved late under Julien Leparoux. 

Trainer Bob Baffert has won the Del Mar Futurity a record 13 times, and he saddles Roadster and Game Winner in the 2018 renewal. 

Roadster is the strong choice after easily winning his Del Mar debut as the overwhelming favorite. In that July 29 straight maiden affair at six furlongs, the $525,000 purchase overcame the intimidating inside post to prevail by four-plus lengths under Mike Smith. 

Spin Lightning did not run as fast as Roadster in his debut, but he was equally impressive from a visual standpoint. The $90,000 son of Hard Spun, out of a Distorted Humor mare, broke from post 10 at the abbreviated five panel distance on Aug. 12, and he swept to the lead from the back of the pack to win going away under Flavien Prat. It sure looks like he wants more ground, and he is a promising late runner for trainer Jeff Mullins. 

I will not go overboard trying to beat the two formidable favorites at Del Mar and Saratoga, but Spin Lightning (6-1) and Dream Maker (4-1) are long term prospects worth following, and they are both live exotics contenders at the very least in the Labor Day features.


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