$100,000 Grade 3 Hooper Promises Excellent Betting Value

$100,000 Grade 3 Hooper Promises Excellent Betting Value

Category : News - Sat 07/02/2015 - 01:35 EST

The $100,000 Grade 3 Fred W. Hooper Stakes February 7 at Gulfstream Park features a field of eleven older horses going a mile in one of the most contentious betting races on the card.

Race Day is the 3/1 morning line favorite for trainer Todd Pletcher after crushing a $62,000 optional claiming field December 21 at Gulfstream by eight and a half lengths. That race, also at a mile, may have represented the coming out party for the now four year-old son of Tapit who earned a career-best Beyer Speed Figure of 109 rating just off the pace before drawing away powerfully in the stretch. Race Day has won three of five career starts for earnings of $91,050.  He will break from post seven with John Velazquez in the irons. 

Valid gets new pilot 

Valid (4/1) is overdue for a win.  The Marcus Vitali trainee has lost his last two starts despite posting monster Beyer Figures of 111 and 104 respectively.  While those numbers are good enough to beat most fields, he looks to be hooking yet another extremely talented group of runners in the Hooper.  Valid possesses a good deal of early speed, and will receive the services of jockey Paco Lopez after being ridden by Orlando Bocachica in each of his last ten starts. 

Serious contenders abound 

Confrontation (5/1) and Midnight Cello (6/1) are major contenders.  The former nearly defeated the well-regarded Lea in the Hal’s Hope while finishing ahead of Valid.  The latter was beaten just a half length by Valid in a stakes race at Gulfstream West October 11.    

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