11/19/2016 6:43PM

Mastery finishes strong in Bob Hope victory

Mastery will next race in the Cash Call Futurity, at 1 1/16 miles, on Dec. 10.

DEL MAR, Calif. – The stakes will get only bigger in coming months for Mastery, who took the proper step forward Saturday by easily disposing of four rivals in the Grade 3, $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar to remain unbeaten after two starts.

Mastery ($2.60) was heavily favored off a dazzling debut win, and his task was made easier in the opening furlongs of the seven-furlong Bob Hope when he was allowed to get away with soft fractions. He then finished off the race in proper style, rocketing through the final furlong in 11.61 seconds and then galloping out powerfully, all without jockey Mike Smith having to use the whip.

The official margin was 1 1/4 lengths over California Diamond, who ran another strong race but had to settle for second. Ann Arbor Eddie was another 1 1/2 lengths back in third, then came Oopper Wallah and Bernin Sensation.

Mastery completed seven furlongs on the fast main track in 1:23.32 after covering the opening quarter in 23.23 seconds and the half in 47.07 seconds.

“It didn’t look like there was a lot of speed,” said Bob Baffert, who trains Mastery for the Cheyenne Stables of Everett Dobson. “Everybody was watching each other.”

Mastery won his debut Oct. 22 at Santa Anita, earning a Beyer Speed Figure of 93 while winning a six-furlong maiden race by 4 1/4 lengths. He is based at Santa Anita, and shipped down to Del Mar early Saturday morning.

“The second out is so important,” Baffert said. “They can take a step back. We asked a lot of him.”

More will be asked in coming months. Next up is the Grade 1 Cash Call Futurity on Dec. 10, in which Mastery will stretch out to 1 1/16 miles.

“He got a good schooling,” Baffert said. “Now he’ll go two turns. He looked like he handled it well. He didn’t have to exert himself.”

Mastery, a colt by Candy Ride, was purchased as a yearling by Dobson for $425,000. Mastery was a prohibitive favorite in all pools, and caused a $54,724.40 minus pool in the show pool.