01/10/2015 9:50PM

Hoppertunity picks up where he left off by taking San Pasqual

Benoit & Associates
Hoppertunity, under Martin Garcia, surpasses $1 million in earnings by winning the San Pasqual.

ARCADIA, Calif. – Bob Baffert said he got a call from someone on the East Coast late last year, desirous of sending the trainer a horse for the Strub series. Baffert told him there was no more Strub series, and, besides that, California wasn’t exactly the place to send a horse about to turn 4.

 That division at Santa Anita, headlined by the likes of Bayern, California Chrome, and Shared Belief, is strengthened further by Hoppertunity, who followed up his season-ending win in the Clark Handicap last November with a victory on Saturday in the Grade 2, $201,500 San Pasqual Stakes at Santa Anita to kick off 2015.

 Hoppertunity ($3.60) was fifth in the 11-horse field midway through the race, but hugged the rail on the final turn and down the stretch under jockey Martin Garcia to rally for a 1 3/4-length victory over Appealing Tale.

 “I told him, ‘Don’t chase. Just let him get comfortable.’ He rode a great race,” Baffert said.

 Blue Tone was another neck back in third and was followed, in order, by Tonito M., Big Cazanova, Bronzo, Quadrivium, Majestic Harbor, Mr. Commons, Salto Del Indio, and Baccelo.

 Hoppertunity completed 1 1/16 miles on the fast main track in 1:41.69. His mile split of 1:35.17 was slower than the final time (1:34.88) recorded one hour earlier by the 3-year-old Calculator when winning the Sham Stakes.

 “He worked really well for this. He’s the kind of horse who should get better and better,” Baffert said.

 Hoppertunity won the Rebel Stakes and was second in the Santa Anita Derby to rank as one of the top contenders for the Kentucky Derby last year. But he was injured the week of the race, and Baffert decided to give him an extended vacation rather than rush him back for summer racing.

 When Hoppertunity returned in the fall, he was second in a sprint prep at Santa Anita the week of the Breeders’ Cup, then went to Churchill Downs to annex the Clark.

 Baffert said there a number of possibilities for Hoppertunity for his next race. Perhaps, with Bayern temporarily sidelined with a quarter crack, Hoppertunity will represent Baffert’s barn in the San Antonio here next month, but Baffert is loathe to make plans this far out.

“With all the 4-year-olds out here, something’s gotta give, and hopefully it’s not me,” Baffert said. “He’ll be nominated everywhere. We know he ships well.”

 Hoppertunity, a son of Any Given Saturday, is owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson, and Paul Weitman. He has now won 4 of 8 starts, and the $120,000 winner’s share from Saturday pushed his career earnings past the $1 million mark.



JackArmstead2 More than 1 year ago
Hop looks like a talented horse and I can see why they thought he might catch CalChrome in the Santa Anita Derby. Baffert has an uncanny ability to take a 4 year old (like Game on Dude) and turn him into a beast. Then, we know we'll see some real competition because Hop does, in fact; travel well.
jim lefferts More than 1 year ago
Appealing Tale ran 43ft farther than Hoppertunity and only lost to him by 14ft. Hoppertunity got a dream trip, Appealing Tale was best.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I always find it humorous when race times are compared, especially when it appears to be to detract from a winner's performance. There are several reasons that this is folly: 1) Track surfaces can and do change over the course of the day. 2) Pace scenarios will always dictate the final time. 3) In this particular race you have Hoppertunity winning in hand. Nobody was gaining on him, so why drive to the line. Zenyatta ran too many slow races to count and yet, she almost always seemed to win (usually by a nose). Was she just lucky 19 times? Hoppertunity could be a player in the Handicap Division and I'd love to see Baffert allow him the opportunity to face the other players: Shared Belief and California Chrome (and hopefully Bayern if/when he comes back healthy.)
tommy More than 1 year ago
One of my favorite horses is THE BIG BEAST!!! He ran 2 claiming and allowance races and destroyed the field and then jumped up to grade 1 in Saratoga and distorted the field !! He is clearly the best sprint horse and he will destroy Bayern and chitu. I would love to see palace, the big beast, private zone, work all week, BAyern, shared belief run in a race and if the big beast is in good form will win!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a horse that nobody is really talking about, but prior to being a late scratch in the Derby he was the 2nd choice on the Morning Line. I love his pedigree and toughness and he could be a serious threat to the "big 3", especially with one of them already suffering a minor set back. Note: While, I don't want any horse to suffer an injury, I found myself relieved that Hoppertunity didn't go in the Derby. There were a number of reasons to bet against him (didn't run at 2 being the biggest), but I don't think I could have helped myself had he run. He struck me as having the right style a the right time and I thought he was peaking. I was surprised that he would have been the second choice, but luckily as a handicapper he didn't run.
tommy More than 1 year ago
I'm so mad and I won this race!! I had a 10 dollar exacta box with 2, 10 and only got back 160. The 10 had odds on 13-1 and paid 9 dollars to place. I would have made more money playing 20 dollars to place on the 10 instead of 10 dollar exacta box with 2, 10. Sometimes win and place can pay more than exacta and superfecta!!!
Paul McAleavey More than 1 year ago
You're obviously not very good at math. The exacta paid pretty much the parlay and you got back 169. For 20 to place you would've gotten back 90. Now is 90 more than 169? As far as playing triples and superfected I agree with you. On occasion the long shots come in and sometimes the big fave wins and the triple and superfected pay pretty big. When Shared Belief beat Toast of New York and Game on dude was fourth it paid huge. I played the exacta cold. That paid ok. The triple was huge and despite GOD being in the super it was a big payout. I was fortunate to hit than and get even because I tried to beat faves in all legs of the pic four. Sometimes you can just let the fave alone and take your top horse for second and play ten dollar tris or all all supers.
tommy More than 1 year ago
Well math is not my best subject and just barely got a B in calculus in college but if a horse is 13-1 I felt the place should pay 13 and 26 to win right??? I mean if it's 9 dollars to place than 20 X 9 = 180 right ??? So if it's 9 to place and I bet 20 dollars to place I should get 180 dollars!!!! You are right about trifecta and superfecta but I miserably lost the superfecta which cost me 500 dollars!!! I played 2,4,10 on top in a heavy trifecta bet which looked like this 2,4,10/2,4,10/2,3,4,10,11 But u are right hat it's easy and cheaper to catch the 10 cent super than one dollar trifecta!!! Even 50 cent superfecta pays well. Also I do agree that they pay less !! Once I hit a trifecta with a 60-1 long shot for first than the 1-1 favor 2nd and then the 3-1 for 3rd and the trifecta paid 80 dollars for one dollar. If I bet the horse just to win I would have made more money!! My father tells me it's because there were too many winning tickets and that if I want to collect based on odds to just play win and place!!!
Paul McAleavey More than 1 year ago
When the big fave wins the long shot never pays his odds for place. If another pricey horse wins then yes.,as far as what thought he'd pay to win I'm gonna tell you how to approximate odds. Any number to win to one is times two and plus two up to .80 more. Like 4-1 is 8 plus 2 and up to 10.80, which is just below a 9/2 payout. Anything to two is the number plus 2 and up to another .80. So you're 13-1 couldve paid as little as 28 but couldve paid as much as 1.80. That's different than the prior math as that applies to prices that are 4-1 or shorter. 5 to 1 or higher is the above additions and up to another 1.80. I don't play dime supers if I'm playing the fave in the first spot though I've seen some that still play a couple thousand. I've seen shirt field races at ca tracks that have let's say a 3.00 horse with a cpl 15-1 shots second and third and the second choice fourth. With let's say a 26 exacta, 90-100 triple and still gets a 300-500 super.,it just depends on if the second and third horses weren't the third and fourth choice. Then I'm seen them pay miserable. Like a 20 exacta, 50 triple and 100 super. It all depends on the track and field size. Plus sometimes the same numbers come up often and they get overplayed just because. In large fields where I try to beat the favorite I might use 2 price horses with 3-5 for second and then maybe all all. A ticket like that can pay huge but also is costly. If a ten horse field it would 2 times 4 times 8 times 7. Which I believe is 39.20. But if you get a pair of twenty dollar horses you get a 200 exacta and with the fave third and say a 5-1 shot fourth it pays around 2000. If you get lucky and the fave is out I've hit ones that paid over 20000 playing anywhere from 40.00 to let's say a 70.00 max. It also depends on how I'm doing for the day. But honestly the exacta did pay fair and it was an expected place bet based in the winner.
jim lefferts More than 1 year ago
Huh? If you really bet a $10 exacta box you got $169 back. Had you bet $20 to place you would have gotten $90. It's pretty simple really.
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
calculator. 97 beyer. final time 1:34.88 hoppertunity 94 beyer. mile time 1:35.17 didnt citation beat the horse of the year, armed early in his three year old season ? are there any stakes races where a three year old can take on older horses this early in the year ?
tommy More than 1 year ago
Calculator is still 2 years old. Check his date of birth !! He will be turning 3 years old later this year!! Some horses that run in the kentucky derby still did not reach their 3rd birthday!! The jockey gold cup, del mar derby, and breeders cup they run against older horses!! Calculator has potential but there are many others
Joel Firsching More than 1 year ago
this race was listed for three year olds. you dontsee the youngsters take on the older horses in graded stakes this early in the year. citation carried 16 less lbs than armed. calculator ran with only 5 less lbs than the highweight, hoppertunity. age difference usually calculated at around 1.75 lbs per month for three year olds.
jim lefferts More than 1 year ago
It's hard to directly compare the mile split versus the mile final time precisely, but it's pretty clear Calculator ran very fast and it is very unusual for to be running faster than Graded older makes this early. He's a good one.
Kram Hslew More than 1 year ago
This colt is fresh and improving , so he should handle Chrome and S.B. with speed to spare.
rahman Williams More than 1 year ago
Chrome will shine 2015
Steve More than 1 year ago
He looked like he was just spinning his wheels on the far turn until a hole opened up that you could drive a big rig through and then he started running. He will have to improve to beat Chrome and Shared Belief, but gives Baffert another bullet to fire in 2015
Walter More than 1 year ago
Looks like a very interesting handicap division in SoCal this year. Looking forward to it developing