09/02/2011 4:37PM

Saratoga: Slight bounce may be good enough for J C's Pride to take Hopeful

Barbara D. Livingston
J C's Pride may regress in Monday's Hopeful after earning a 101 Beyer Speed

SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. – Trainer Robert Barbara expects J C’s Pride to regress a little bit from his track record-setting performance five weeks ago. He just hopes the horse is still good enough to win Monday’s Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes.

J C’s Pride, who set a track record for 5 1/2 furlongs when he ran the distance here in 56.54 seconds here on July 27, heads a field of 10 juveniles entered for the $250,000 Hopeful, the featured event on Monday’s 11-race closing- day card at Saratoga.

After getting beat by Overdriven in his debut at Belmont Park, J C’s Pride rolled to a 3 1/4-length victory here, earning a 101 Beyer Speed Figure.

“Where is he going to go from a 101, to a 110?’’ Barbara asked Friday morning. “No, he’s going backwards. I don’t want him to go further; that’s what kills these horses, they’re too young to do this. The only thing that helps him a little bit is that he’s mature already. He’s one strong kid.’’

Barbara said J C’s Pride is made like a body-builder and has “a fantastic mind’’ to go with it. He has seen J C’s Pride, a son of Henny Hughes, blossom physically in the last six weeks.

“I’ve been sitting with him for a month, I watch every move he makes,’’ Barbara said. “He’s grown, which is a great sign, he’s gained weight, another great sign. So all these things make me think he can handle a lot. Then I’m going to lead him over there Monday and that’s it.’’

J C’s Pride will break from post 10 under Jose Lezcano and will be attempting to stretch out from five to seven furlongs.

“I don’t think it’s going to be a problem,’’ Barbara said. “The competition is going to be a lot different than what he’s seen in his second start anyway; first start he ran against a good horse [Overdriven] and ran well so I think he’s got the class.’’

The competition Monday includes Power World, runner-up in both the Bashford Manor and Sanford Stakes; I’ll Have Another, who finished second in the Grade 2 Best Pal at Del Mar; and Currency Swap, one of the more impressive 2-year-old winners at this meet. Currency Swap will be coupled with Clip the Coupons as both are owned by Seth Klarman’s Klaravich Stables.

Others entered in the Hopeful include Hunt Crossing, Vexor, Big Blue Nation, Trinniberg, and Laurie’s Rocket.