Published Friday, November 17th, 2023 (8 months ago)

Baffert Trio Top Sunday's G3 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar

Nysos | Benoit Photo

Nysos © Benoit Photo

Invariably, if there is a 2-year-old stakes race at Del Mar, trainer Bob Baffert is going to be the guy you have to deal with, usually sooner rather than later. Sunday at the shore oval it is very much sooner as the Hall of Fame conditioner runs three of the five juveniles in the feature, the Grade III, $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes at seven furlongs.

His trio consists of Baoma Corp’s $550,000 2-year-old in training purchase Nysos, SF Racing, Starlight Racing, et al’s $400,000 yearling buy Mission Beach and Pegram/Watson/Weitman’s $300,000 2-year-old in training snag Wine Me Up.

The other two in the field are Rick or Sharon Walter’s homebred Stronghold and Williamson Racing’s homebred Tejon Pass.

Nysos is a colt by Nyquist who captured his debut October 21 at Santa Anita by more than 10 lengths in fast time for the six panels. That was enough for Del Mar’s morning line maker Jon White to hang the bay at the 4/5 favorite for Sunday.

Mission Beach, a Curlin colt, also scored in his debut at Del Mar this summer, then showed speed but backed up in the Grade I Hopeful Stakes at Saratoga in September.

Wine Me Up was a debut winner at Del Mar on September 2, then ran second in the Grade I America Pharoah Stakes at Santa Anita prior to going unplaced in the Grade I Breeders’ Cup Juvenile on November 3.     

Stronghold, who is conditioned by Phil D’Amato, was the winner of a one-mile straight maiden race at Churchill Downs in his second outing on October 1. The Ghostzapper colt has been training smartly in the west of late.

Tejon Pass captured his second start on September 30 at Santa Anita in front-running fashion. He’s a son of Triple Crown winner Justify who has been prepping at San Luis Rey Downs and Del Mar for trainer Peter Miller.

Here’s the field for the 43rd edition of the Bob Hope from the rail out with riders and morning line odds:

Tejon Pass, Mike Smith (5-1); Mission Beach, Juan Hernandez (6-1); Wine Me Up, Ramon Vazquez (5-1); Stronghold, Antonio Fresu (3-1), and Nysos, Flavien Prat.

The stakes will go as Race 8 on the nine-race program with a post time of approximately 4 p.m. First post as always in the fall is at 12:30 p.m.