Saving the best for nearly last on a marathon, 14-race closing day card at Saratoga on Monday, the $250,000 Hopeful Stakes (G1) offers a potentially scintillating showdown between Saratoga Special (G2) hero Jackie’s Warrior and the impressive debut winners Mutasaabeq and Reinvestment Risk.
Jackie’s Warrior sped clear of his eight rivals in the Saratoga Special, a three-length triumph which followed up a 2 1/2-length maiden score at Churchill Downs for trainer Steve Asmussen. The son of Maclean’s Music again looks like the horse to run down.
“He’s done everything right for us in the mornings and we’re looking forward to running him,” said assistant trainer Scott Blasi. “Seven-eighths of a mile is not going to be an issue for him.”
Mutasaabeq, a son of Into Mischief, rolled to a 4 1/2-length graduation on Aug. 8 after pressing the pace and looms a significant danger for Todd Pletcher.
“Once he got going, he put in an impressive run around the turn and it seemed like he had a lot in reserve,” Pletcher said. “Hopefully he jumps a little better second time out, but we’ll play it by ear. I liked the way he finished the other day, so seven-eighths should be within his range.”
Reinvestment Risk’s maiden win was even easier, a 7 3/4-length romp on Aug. 1 for Chad Brown, who trains the son of Upstart for Klaravich Stables. The colt earned a competitive 96 Brisnet Speed rating.
Papetu, who won his first two starts at Gulfstream before finishing a distant sixth in the Saratoga Special after dropping far out of it in the opening quarter-mile, is joined by last-out maiden winners Ampersand, Nutsie, and Fearless Fly in completing the Hopeful lineup.