Updated on 09/15/2011 12:57PM

Cross-country trip pays off

NYRA/ Adam Coglianese
Came Home, who shipped to Saratoga from the West Coast, wins Saturday's Hopeful under Chris McCarron.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - He may be the second-best juvenile colt in the West, but Came Home proved tops in the East Saturday, whipping six rivals to win the Grade 1, $200,000 Hopeful by two lengths before 19,532 at Saratoga.

Mayakovsky, who established a track record for 5 1/2 furlongs here opening day, finished second, 6 3/4 lengths ahead of longshot Thunder Days. Completing the order of finish were Roman Dancer, Jump Start, Proud Citizen, and Deputy Connor. Sent off the favorite, Came Home returned $4.30 to win.

Came Home's final time of 1:21.94 established a stakes record for the seven-furlong distance. The Hopeful was first run at seven furlongs in 1994.

It was the third victory in as many starts for Came Home, a son of Gone West out of the Clever Trick mare Nice Assay. In 1992, Nice Assay won the inaugural running of the Honorable Miss in 1:08.80, which remains that stakes record.

"I had a really good feeling about this race today," said Trudy McCaffrey, who owns Came Home with John Toffan. They shipped Came Home here in part to avoid facing Officer in Wednesday's Del Mar Futurity. "This is especially nice because he is a homebred and his mother was very special to us. This colt is just a very precocious, very special young horse."

In June, Came Home won his maiden at Hollywood Park by eight lengths and then six weeks later returned to win the Hollywood Juvenile Championship by four lengths. According to trainer Paco Gonzalez, Came Home came out of that race a little sick.

Under Chris McCarron, Came Home broke in a step at the start of the Hopeful, quickly recovered and dueled early with fellow Californian Roman Dancer. Came Home then backed off before rallying again around the turn and poking a head in front leaving the three-eighths pole. After putting away Roman Dancer, Came Home had a fresh challenge from Mayakovsky. But, with one right-handed and two-left handed cracks of McCarron's whip, Came Home drew clear late.

Toffan said Came Home would probably fly back to California and would run in either the Norfolk Stakes at Santa Anita on Sept. 29 or return to New York for the Champagne at Belmont on Oct. 6.

By winning the Hopeful, Came Home now would earn a $250,000 bonus as part of the Bessemer Trust Two-Year-Old Challenge if he wins the Breeders' Cup Juvenile on Oct. 27 at Belmont Park.

for the Hopeful chart.*

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