ARCADIA, Calif. (Feb. 2, 2018)–Although he’s still a back-bencher among Bob Baffert’s talented group of Derby hopeful’s Gary and Mary West’s homebred Restoring Hope took a big step forward on Friday at Santa Anita, as he relaxed well early and went on to an easy 3 ½ length maiden score under Flavien Prat. With blinkers off in his third career start, the Kentucky-bred colt by Giant’s Causeway got a mile and one sixteenth in 1:45.24.
“He’s all caught up now,” said Baffert. “We were playing catch-up with him going into his last race (a third place finish at the level and distance here on Dec. 30) but we’re ready for the deep end of the pool now. He’s got a lot of quality and he’s bred to go a mile and a quarter. He’ll run all day.”
Breaking sharply from post position four, he was lapped on his stablemate Longden throughout and took control three sixteenths of mile from home to win going away under aggressive handling.
Off as the 4-5 favorite in a field of seven sophomores, Restoring Hope paid $3.60, $2.60 and $2.40.
Out of the West’s Tapit mare Symbol of Freedom, Restoring Hope now has a win, a second and a third. With the winner’s check of $32,400, he now has earnings of $46,880 and will be pointed to a two-turn graded stakes according to his trainer.
In a gutty performance, Longden, ridden by Drayden Van Dyke, held second money by a half length over Jimmy Chila and paid $4.00 and $3.60 as the third wagering choice at 9-2.
Ridden by Mario Gutierrez, Jimmy Chila finished 1 ½ lengths in front of Heartfullofstars and paid $4.00 to show while off at 17-1.
Fractions on the race were 23.63, 47.64, 1:12.51 and 1:38.40.
Racing resumes on Saturday with a nine-race program, which gets underway at 12:30 p.m. Admission gates open at 10:30 a.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com.