Updated on 09/15/2011 1:56PM

Home comes to Mayakovsky

Michael J. Marten/Horsephotos
Came Home, who ships in for the Hopeful, romps in the Hollywood Juvenile Championship July 15.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - Trainer Patrick Biancone shipped Mayakovsky out of California in part to avoid facing the West Coast's top juveniles. Little did he know that some of those horses would follow him to New York.

Came Home, the Hollywood Juvenile winner, and Roman Dancer, an impressive maiden winner at Del Mar, arrived in Saratoga this week and helped make what might have been a dull renewal of the Grade 1 Hopeful an intriguing event. Came Home and Roman Dancer escaped California in part to avoid Officer, the top gun in the juvenile division, who is running in the Del Mar Futurity Wednesday.

The $200,000 Hopeful kicks off the Bessemer Trust Two-Year-Old Challenge which offers as much as $1.3 million in bonus money and will be televised live on CNBC (4 p.m. Eastern). The Challenge offers a $250,000 bonus to the connections of a horse that can win one of seven designated 2-year-old races as well as the Breeders' Cup Juvenile. An additional $50,000 will be awarded to the consignor of that horse if he was sold at public auction. If that same horse goes on to win next year's Kentucky Derby, he will earn his owner a $1 million bonus.

In what has been a lackluster season for 2-year-old colts at Saratoga, Mayakovsky may have been the most eye-catching. Making his debut on the opening-day card, Mayakovsky won a 5 1/2-furlong race by 1 1/4 lengths while covering the distance in 1:03.32, eclipsing a track record set 55 years ago. None of the horses that has run back from that race has won.

The connections of Mayakovsky immediately targeted the Hopeful as the horse's next start. It is a similar pattern that Macho Uno followed last year. While Macho Uno got beat in the Hopeful he did win the Breeders' Cup Juvenile and was voted 2-year-old champion.

"It's a choice you make," said Biancone, who trains Mayakovsky for Michael Tabor. "It's a choice to either give him experience or to not over-race him. The aim is the Breeders' Cup. It would be great to have two races, but I might regret the second race at the end of October. The horse is good. We expect he's good enough for this level of competition."

Came Home, a son of Gone West, was made the 4-5 morning-line choice in the Hopeful by Daily Racing Form handicapper Mike Watchmaker. He is coming off two dominant wins, including a four-length score in the Grade 3 Hollywood Juvenile Championship on July 15. That followed an eight-length maiden win in which he stumbled at the start and grabbed a quarter in his right front foot.

Although Came Home won the Hollywood Juvenile on the lead, trainer Paco Gonzalez said that was only because he drew the rail "and we had to go, you don't want to get trapped."

Came Home drew post 4 in the Hopeful and will most likely try to stalk the pace under Chris McCarron.

Roman Dancer, a New York-bred son of Polish Numbers, won his maiden while racing on the lead and figures to be gunned from the gate under Jorge Chavez after drawing the rail.

D. Wayne Lukas sends out the uncoupled entry of Jump Start and Proud Citizen. Jump Start, a son of of A.P. Indy is 2 for 2 including a victory in the Grade 2 Saratoga Special last time out. Lukas has won the Hopeful five times including last year when Yonaguska dead-heated with City Zip.

"The horse is winning sprinting, which impresses us," said Mike Maker, assistant to Lukas. "We felt all along two turns was going to be his best game."

Maker said Proud Citizen got away poorly and didn't care for the muddy track when fifth in Sanford. Two starts back he earned a Beyer Speed Figure of 96 winning his maiden at Belmont.

Deputy Connor and Thunder Days complete the field.


Purse: $200,000; 7 furlongs; Grade 1

1 Roman Dancer J. Chavez 8-1
2 Jump Start P. Day 4-1
3 Thunder Days M. Guidry 15-1
4 Came Home C. McCarron 4-5
5 Mayakovsky E. Prado 6-1
6 Deputy Connor S. Bridgmohan 30-1
7 Proud Citizen J. Bailey 6-1

All starters carry 122 pounds

Odds by Mike Watchmaker

Television: Saturday, 4 p.m. (Eastern) on CNBC

for Hopeful Past Performances.