09/03/2012 5:07PM

Saratoga: Pletcher closes out powerful meet by winning Hopeful with Shanghai Bobby

Tom Keyser
Shanghai Bobby, under Rosie Napravnik, improves to 3 for 3 by taking the Hopeful.

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. - It was worth the wait.

After having to scratch from the Saratoga Special on Aug. 12 due to a temperature, Shanghai Bobby showed that he might be one of the hottest 2-year-olds on the East Coast by rolling to a 3 3/4-length victory in Monday’s Grade 2, $300,000 Hopeful Stakes on closing day at Saratoga.

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 Fortify, the 8-5 favorite off an eye-catching debut win, finished second, three-quarters of a length in front of Sanford Stakes winner Bern Identity. Overanalyze, Show Some Magic, Vegas No Show, Majestic Hussar, and Lawn Man completed the order of finish.

 The win was the third in as many starts for Shanghai Bobby, a son of Harlan’s Holiday owned by Starlight Stable and trained by Todd Pletcher.

 It was the 23rd win with a 2-year-old at this meet for trainer Todd Pletcher, his second in a juvenile stakes. Pletcher won his ninth Saratoga training title with 36 wins.

 “It would have been disappointing if we didn’t close it out with a 2-year-old win,” said Pletcher, who also won the Grade 2 Adirondack with Kauai Katie. “Hopeful, very important race, it should be a Grade 1, but that’s a different story. But you know we’re happy to get it.”

 The North American Graded Stakes Committee downgraded the Hopeful to a Grade 2 for this year’s running.

 Shanghai Bobby certainly looked like Grade 1 material on Monday. Breaking from the outside post under Rosie Napravnik, Shanghai Bobby raced an up-close third as Majestic Hussar set the pace chased by Overanalyze.

 After a half-mile was run in 45.28 seconds, Shanghai Bobby joined the leaders and after receiving a right-handed stick from Napravnik at the three-sixteenths pole, Shanghai Bobby spurted clear. Napravnik had to stay busy on Shanghai Bobby until about 50 yards from the wire when she aggressively hand-rode him to victory.

 Napravnik said at the three-eighths pole, “I was still trying to hold him back from getting the lead. I honestly didn’t want to get it too early because last time he kind of got lost out there by himself. Today, he probably let up a little bit but he was finishing so strong. He was much the best.”

 Shanghai Bobby covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.72, making this the second fastest of 19 Hopefuls run at seven furlongs since the race was increased in distance in 1994. Only Came Home, who ran 1:21.94 in 2001,has run the Hopeful faster.

 The win earned Shanghai Bobby an automatic berth into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita on Nov. 3 as this was a Win and You’re In race. It remains to be seen if Shanghai Bobby will go to the Breeders’ Cup because his connections are staunch supporters of the race-day medication Lasix, and, at this point, all five 2-year-old races at the Breeders’ Cup are scheduled to be run without the use of Lasix.

 Jack Wolf, one of the principals of Starlight, said no decision has been made about the Breeders’ Cup at Santa Anita.

 “His next race would be the Champagne [Oct. 6 at Belmont] and then we’d talk about the Breeders’ Cup from there,” Wolf said. “Forget about the Lasix, it’s do we want to ship out there? We’ve never had any luck shipping out there. We’re just going to have to wait and see.”

 In addition to the $180,000 first-place purse, Shanghai Bobby earned his connections a $100,000 bonus from the New York Racing Association because he won a graded stakes at a NYRA track after winning a maiden at a NYRA track.