January 28, 2023

High Velocity wires trio of rivals in Bob Hope

High Velocity winning the Bob Hope (G3) at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club © BENOIT PHOTO

He had entered two horses earlier this week, but trainer Bob Baffert needed only one, High Velocity, to claim Saturday’s $98,000 Bob Hope (G3) at Del Mar for the fourth time in the past five years, and seventh time overall.

When the Baffert-trained Thousand Words and the Doug O’Neill-trained Howbeit were scratched, the seven-furlong Bob Hope for two-year-olds was whittled down to a field of four. High Velocity, sent away at even-money, and 9-10 favorite Strongconstitution dominated the proceedings.

Pressed by Strongconstitution through fractions of :23.28 and :46.60, High Velocity eventually repelled that foe through the stretch and kicked clear to win by 1 1/4 lengths under Drayden Van Dyke. The final time over a fast track was 1:23.16.

“I was loaded all the way,” Van Dyke said. “He’s a fast horse, I knew that; I broke him out of the gate the other morning. I got away with some pretty easy fractions here, so I was feeling good about that. I told Bob that he was just hitting his best stride as we went past the wire. He’s a nice one.”

Owned by Gary and Mary West, High Velocity paid $4. Strongconstitution easily held second over Zimba Warrior, with Rager trailing the quartet of runners.

This was the second win in as many starts for High Velocity, who scored as an odds-on favorite by two lengths at Santa Anita on October 13 going 5 1/2 furlongs. He’s now earned $90,000.

Bred in Kentucky by Dell Ridge Farm, High Velocity was a $350,000 Keeneland September yearling. He’s by Quality Road and out of the Grade 3-placed Ketel Twist, by Dixie Union.