May 24, 2022

Thousand Words, High Velocity give Baffert solid one-two punch in Bob Hope

Thousand Words (Benoit Photos)

Much like the Del Mar Futurity (G1) held in the summer, trainer Bob Baffert has more or less been the dominant player in the recent history of the $100,000 Bob Hope (G3), the leading open two-year-old event of Del Mar’s fall Bing Crosby meet.

Baffert has won the Bob Hope six times, including three of the four editions held at Del Mar after the race’s name was changed from the Hollywood Prevue. For Saturday’s renewal, he’ll send out two of the six starters in the seven-furlong test.

Many eyes will be on Thousand Words, a $1 million yearling son of Pioneerof the Nile who won on debut by a half-length at Santa Anita on October 26. Thousand Words is out of the multiple graded stakes-winning sprinter Pomeroys Pistol.

By comparison, High Velocity cost only $350,000 at auction, but expectations were also high for the son of Quality Road. Sent away as the 7-10 favorite in his October 13 debut at Santa Anita, High Velocity stalked in second before taking over inside the final furlong to win by two lengths.

The connections of Strongconstitution are high on the Constitution colt after a debut victory during the Del Mar summer meet going five furlongs on the grass and a close runner-up finish to Fore Left in the $70,000 Sunny Slope on October 20.

“In our opinion he’s the one to beat, but you never know,” said Leandro Mora, assistant to trainer to Doug O’Neill. The barn has also entered Howbeit, who’s won two straight after dropping his first three starts. His most recent victory was against optional claiming/starter allowance company.

Completing the field are Zimba Warrior, a distant third in the Sunny Slope last time, and Rager, who won on debut over the turf at Santa Anita. The latter’s by Into Mischief and out of a half-sister to Grade 1 turf winner Champ Pegasus.