Jan 08, 2015
Baffert goes for fifth San Pasqual title
By: SPORTS NETWORK
Arcadia, CA (SportsNetwork.com) - Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert will send out 4-year-old colt Hoppertunity Saturday in an effort to gain his fifth victory in the $200,000 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita going 1 1/16 miles.
Hoppertunity, owned by Karl Watson, Michael Pegram and Paul Weitman, has been made the 9-5 morning line favorite in the 11-horse field and will break from post 2 with Martin Garcia in the saddle.
Saturday's start comes less than two months after Hoppertunity captured the Clark Handicap at Churchill Downs to close out his 3-year-old campaign. The colt pressed the pace than drove to a 1 1/2-length win over Protonico.
"The thing about Hoppertunity is that he's sort of a one-paced kind of horse and the way he ran off his first race ... he was just training really well, you know," Baffert said from California after the Clark victory. "I was just yelling 'Hold on!' I was watching on my phone so I couldn't see it very well. But you know what? I really wasn't worried because about 50 yards from the wire - (watching the race) on a delay - I got a text that said, 'Congrats.' That's why I really wasn't worried about (Protonico) looming up."
Last year, along with the Clark, Hoppertunity won the Rebel Stakes at Fair Grounds followed by a runner-up result to California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby.
Hoppertunity was scratched from the Kentucky Derby just days before the race with a quarter crack of a hoof and did not race again until Oct. 29 when he got second in an allowance race at Santa Anita.
With just seven starts under his belt, Hoppertunity has already earned $950,675 with three wins and two seconds.
"He'll get better with age so we're happy. We've got him and Bayern," Baffert noted.
Baffert previously won the San Pasqual with Silver Charm (1999), Wooden Phone (2002), Congaree (2003) and Coil (2013).
Majestic Harbor, trained by Sean McCarthy, is the 9-2 second pick and will start from post 3 with Tyler Baze again riding. The 7-year-old will be making his first start since running last in the $5 Million Breeders' Cup Classic at Santa Anita Nov. 1.
Owned by Gallant Stable, Majestic Harbor was second in last year's San Pasqual to begin his 2014 campaign. He followed with a fourth in the San Antonio, first in the Tokyo City and third in the Californian before claiming the Gold Cup at Santa Anita. The horse was sixth in the Pacific Classic and fourth in the Awesome Again, both won by Shared Belief.
Majestic Harbor has six wins, six seconds and fourth thirds from 26 starts for $674,014.
Here is the complete field for the San Pasqual from the rail out: Quadrivium, Mike Smith, 6-1; Hoppertunity, Martin Garcia, 9-5; Majestic Harbor, Tyler Baze, 9-2; Big Cazanova, Elvis Trujillo, 5-1; Baccelo, Tiago Pereira, 30-1; Bronzo, Gary Stevens, 8-1; Salto Del Indio, Joe Talamo, 20-1; Mr. Commons, Brice Blanc, 10-1; Blue Tone, Kent Desormeaux, 12-1; Appealing Tale, Victor Espinoza, 10-1; and Tonito M., Rafael Bejarano, 10-1.
The San Pasqual has an approximate post time of 7 p.m. ET.
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