Unbeaten COMMENTATOR (Distorted Humor) and multiple Grade 2 winner PURGE
(Pulpit) are among the top contenders for Saturday’s $100,000 Hal’s Hope H. (G3)
at Gulfstream Park. Thirteen have been entered for the 1 1/8-mile contest, including
the likes of Cigar Mile H. (G1) runner-up BADGE OF SILVER (Silver Deputy) and
multiple Grade 3 hero DYNEVER (Dynaformer), who is the 117-pound highweight.
Winner of the Perryville S. and five-for-five overall, Commentator will make
his first attempt around two turns in the Hal’s Hope. The four-year-old gelding
owns four sprint wins and a an eight-length victory over optional claiming
rivals in a one-mile, one-turn optional claiming event in his last outing at
Churchill Downs in late November. His wins have come by a combined 42 1/4
lengths, and Pat Day rides the Nick Zito trainee.
Purge was an impressive winner
at Gulfstream in his seasonal bow last year and went on to capture the Jim Dandy
S. (G2) and Peter Pan S. (G2) for conditioner Todd Pletcher. The four-year-old
bay will have regular rider John Velazquez up.
The complete field, from the rail with riders and weights, is THE JUDGE SEZ
WHO (Judge T C), Kieren Fallon, 114; COUNTRY JUDGE (Judge T C), Javier
Castellano, 113; SMOOTH LOVER (Suave Prospect), Carlos Olivero, 113; CONTANTE (Arg)
(Interprete), Edgar Prado, 112; Commentator, 115; Badge of Silver, Jerry Bailey,
115; ADDED EDGE (Smart Strike), Patrick Husbands, 116; DEPUTY LAD (Mecke),
Eduardo Nunez, 113; WAKE AT NOON (Cure the Blues), Herberto Castillo Jr., 113;
Purge, 116; COLLATERAL DAMAGE (Cobra King), Brice Blanc, 112; Dynever, Jose
Santos; and ALLEGED RULER (A.P. Indy), Chris DeCarlo, 111.
The $100,000 Mr. Prospector H. (G3) will be held one race earlier on the card
and features 10 sprinters going six furlongs. Grade 2 victor SHAKE YOU DOWN (Montbrook),
who captured the Sunshine Millions Sprint S. over the Hallandale, Florida, track
in 2004, is the 120-pound highweight. His challengers include Grade 3 winner
SARATOGA COUNTY (Valid Expectations), who bounced back with a strong 5
1/4-length allowance score in his last start; multiple stakes winner ALL HAIL
STORMY (Stormy Atlantic), who exits a sharp triumph in the Mint S. at Calder;
and 2003 Canadian Horse of the Year WANDO (Langfuhr), who comes off a couple of
nice sprints wins at Woodbine.
STRENGTH AND HONOR (Carson City), winner of the Distorted Humor H. at
Churchill Downs in his last outing, leads the post parade under a 115-pound
impost, including jockey Eddie Castro. They’ll be followed by Shake You Down,
Mike Luzzi; Wando, Husbands, 118; Saratoga County, Castellano, 112; VOODOO (Petionville),
Joe Bravo, 116; THUNDER TOUCH (Gulch), Bailey, 115; All Hail Stormy, Eibar Coa,
113; CHOOSE (Arch), Tom Turner, 113; LIMEHOUSE (Grand Slam), Velazquez, 116; and
DEPUTY STORM (Forestry), Day, 114.