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Garrett Gomez looks like he already knows Circular Quay will win as they come out for the post parade.
The $250,000 Hopeful Stakes (G1) is the final Grade 1 event for the year at Saratoga, and is the meet's premier event for 2-year-old males. Just five colts were entered, with only four betting interests and no show wagering, as the Todd Pletcher-trained duo of Scat Daddy and Circular Quay were sent off as the 4-5 favorites. Scat Daddy won the Sanford earlier in the meet, while Circular Quay won the Bashford Manor at Churchill Downs in July, both colts coming into the race undefeated in two career starts. In to challenge was 5-2 third choice Unbridled Express, a runaway maiden winner at Churchill last time out. 3-1 Pegasus Wind and 8-1 Irish Ace rounded out the field.
Circular Quay starts to circle the field down the stretch
Pgm Horse Jockey Win Place Show 1A Circular Quay Gomez 3.60 2.80 - 1 Scat Daddy Velazquez 3.60 2.80 - 3 Unbridled Express Prado - Winning Time: 1:23.00 $2 Exacta 1-3 9.30
Circular Quay acts up as they try to pose him in the winner's circle. Winning trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I was trying to keep my eye on both horses. Circular Quay is a true homebred. He's by Thunder Gulch, who won the Travers (1995) and his dam, Circle of Life, won the Spinaway (1999). The race obviously set up well for him. I expected Circular Quay to be last down the backstretch, but I didn't expect him to be that far back. He was way out the back, but it worked out well for him. That's kind of been his natural running style. Sometimes when you're the lone closer, it's as good as being the lone speed."
Circular Quay in the post parade. Winning jockey Garrett Gomez said, "I didn't want to be that far back, but they were all in a drive at the 5/8 pole, so I just sat on him. I just kept waiting on him, and finally at the 3/8 pole I said, 'I'm tired of waiting, it's time to go.' At the 1/4 pole, he got me up there and then he just took off."
Circular Quay poses while being hosed off after the race. Asked where his two top juveniles will go next, he said, "I'm not sure what we'll do. I'm not crazy about the Champagne being three weeks before the Breeders' Cup. It's possible that one might run in there and it's possible that neither may run in there."
Second place finisher Scat Daddy in the post parade. His trainer Todd Pletcher said, "I thought both horses ran extremely well. Scat Daddy broke a half-step slow and rushed up and had to steady a bit and was part of that speed duel. I thought Scat Daddy, considering everything, was the one horse that finished up well out of the speed duel. I think this puts both horses right at the top of the class." Jockey John Velazquez said, "I can't explain what happened to him. I didn't think he was going to run after he stumbled. I was trying to work my way out of it. I don't know how he got back into the race after that. I'm glad he got back up again to run well as he did."
Third place finisher Unbridled Express in the paddock before the race. His jockey Edgar Prado said, "I was in a perfect spot turning for home, but he didn't kick in like I thought he would. I knew they were moving real fast in front of me, so I put him outside and bided my time. He was trying real hard."
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