Corfu, Wired Bryan Rematch in Hopeful Stakes


Corfu and Wired Bryan, who put on quite a performance in the Aug. 11 Saratoga Special Stakes (gr. II), are back for a rematch Sept. 2 in the $300,000 Three Chimneys Hopeful Stakes (gr. I) on the Labor Day card at Saratoga Race Course.

The final stakes of the 2013 Saratoga meet, the seven-furlong Hopeful attracted a field of 10 juveniles, all assigned 120 pounds.

Corfu, a Malibu Moon   colt trained by Todd Pletcher for Michael Tabor, John Magnier, and Derrick Smith, edged Wired Bryan by a nose in the 6 1/2-furlong Special after setting the pace all the way. Wired Bryan, Anstu Stables' New York-bred son of Stormy Atlantic  , lost the heated battle while wheeling back from a victory in the July 21 Sanford Stakes (gr. II) off a June 19 debut score at Belmont Park for Pletcher's former assistant, Michael Dilger.

Hall of Fame Jockey John Velazquez retains the mount on Corfu from post 4, while Wired Bryan will have regular rider Shaun Bridgmohan in the irons from post 8.

Mike McCarty's Southern Blessing was second in the six-furlong Sanford by 5 1/4 lengths to Wired Bryan. The son of Dixie Union has been started sparingly by trainer Steve Asmussen, who sent him out May 24 to break his maiden at first asking at Churchill Downs, then did not race him again until the Sanford, in which he broke inward and closed steadily but was no match for the winner. Rosie Napravnik rides from the rail.

Long On Value is an interesting entrant. Undefeated in three starts for trainer Randy Allen and Frances Hessee, the Virginia-bred son of Value Plus has won twice on the Delaware Park dirt and once on turf at Colonial Downs. Last out he took the 5 1/2-furlong Strike Your Colors Stakes by six lengths July 29 on the Delaware dirt.

Hall of Fame jockey Edgar Prado will be in the irons from post 2. Since his last start, Long On Value was purchased by Wachtel Stable and George Kerr. He is now trained by Hall of Fame horseman Bill Mott.

Starlight Racing's All in Blue is entered off a fourth-place finish in the Sanford, but has also been entered in the Sept. 1 Sapling Stakes (gr. III) at Monmouth Park by trainer Todd Pletcher. Were the More Than Ready colt to race in the Hopeful, he would leave from post 5 under Irad Ortiz, Jr.

Maiden winners Lunarwarfare (fourth in the Saratoga Special in his second start), Casiguapo, Big Sugar Soda, Strong Mandate, and King Cyrus complete the field.

$300,000 Hopeful Stakes (gr. I, Race 9, approximate post 4:50 p.m. EDT), 2YOs, seven furlongs (dirt)
PP, Horse, Jockey, Trainer
1. Southern Blessing (KY), R. Napravnik, S M Asmussen
2. Long On Value (VA), E.S. Prado, W I Mott
3. Casiguapo (KY), L. Saez, M Morales
4. Corfu (KY), J.R. Velazquez, T A Pletcher
5. All in Blue (KY), I. Ortiz, Jr., T A Pletcher
6. Big Sugar Soda (KY), M.E. Smith, S M Asmussen
7. Lunarwarfare (FL), J.C. Leyva, M Yates
8. Wired Bryan (NY), S. Bridgmohan, M Dilger
9. Strong Mandate (KY), J.L. Ortiz, D W Lukas
10. King Cyrus (KY), J. Castellano, T A Pletcher
All runners carry 120 pounds