October 29, 2020

Mucho, Nitrous top contenders in Hopeful

Sombeyay wins the Sanford Stakes (G3) at Saratoga on July 21, 2018 (c) NYRA/Adam Coglianese Photography

Impressive maiden winners Mucho and Nitrous will make their initial stakes appearance in Monday’s $350,000 Hopeful (G1) at Saratoga. A total of eight two-year-olds are entered for the seven-furlong heat on closing day.

Mucho rolled to a 9 ¾-length maiden special weight tally when making his second start on August 4. A Claiborne Farm and Adele Dilschneider homebred son of Blame, the Bill Mott-trained colt tracked the pace before seizing control on the far turn of the six-furlong race and registered an outstanding 96 BRIS Speed rating. Jose Ortiz retains the mount.

Nitrous showed high speed when graduating by 3 ¼ lengths on July 21 and garnered a 90 Speed rating for the wire-to-wire win. Owned and bred by Winchell Thoroughbreds, the gray Tapit colt shows five works in the 44-day interim for Steve Asmussen. Ricardo Santana Jr. rides.

Sanford (G3) winner Sombeyay can’t be dismissed from consideration. A bay colt by Into Mischief, the Todd Pletcher pupil will break from the rail with Javier Castellano. Mind Control, a three-length maiden scorer at Monmouth Park, invades from Monmouth Park for Greg Sacco and John Velazquez picks up the mount on the Stay Thirsty colt. Dream Maker, a superb debut winner at Churchill Downs on June 7, returns from an 88-day freshening for Mark Casse and Julien Leparoux guides the son of Tapit.

One race earlier, Saratoga specialist Voodoo Song tops a field of six in the $250,000 Bernard Baruch (G2). The New York-bred son of English Channel improved to five-for-five over the Saratoga turf with a wire-to-wire win in the August 11 Fourstardave (G1) and the front-running four-year-old will meet five rivals in Saturday’s 1 1/16-mile turf affair. Jose Lezcano rides for Linda Rice.

Inspector Lynley and Synchrony, respective last-out winners of the Lure and Oceanport (G3), are among the challengers.