Saratoga Special Rematch in Hopeful


Corfu battles to the finish in the 2013 Saratoga Special Stakes. Photo courtesy of NYRA & Associates. 
Corfu confirmed his class in his second start when he won the Grade 2 Saratoga Special Stakes by a nose over Wired Bryan. That pair will line up for a rematch on Monday at Saratoga Race Course in the $300,000 Hopeful Stakes, one of the premier races for 2-year-olds in the U.S. since it was first held in 1903.
The list of racing stars to win the Hopeful is too long to name more than just a few, with Hall of Famers Peter Pan, Regret, Man o’ War, Bimelech, Whirlaway, Native Dancer, Nashua, Needles, Buckpasser, Secretariat, Foolish Pleasure and Affirmed among its conquerors.
Corfu and Wired Bryan will attempt to join those stars in the history books as a Hopeful winner. The seven-furlong race drew a 10-horse field.
Corfu won his debut by a half-length in July at Saratoga and the Malibu Moon colt followed up with a determined effort in the Saratoga Special, charging right to the front and then holding off Wired Bryan and fast-closing Danza late to prevail.
“He's pretty fast, and speed is his weapon, so we'll look to continue to take advantage of that,” trainer Todd Pletcher said of Corfu. “In both of his races, he's shown he's got some fight to him, so we hope that he'll be able to carry his speed a little further.”
Wired Bryan will be making his fourth start in the Hopeful. A Stormy Atlantic colt trained by Michael Dilger, Wired Bryan won his first career start by 7 ¼ lengths in June at Belmont Park. He then rolled to a 5 ¼-length romp in the Grade 2 Sanford Stakes in July at Saratoga before a game second in the Saratoga Special.

Photo courtesy of NYRA & Associates
Dilger had no reservations about bringing him back three weeks after the Saratoga Special for the Hopeful.
“I think his biggest asset is his attitude. He’s a very laid-back horse, borderline lazy,” Dilger said. “That helps when you're trying to put together three races in quick succession. We’re running him in these races because that's the way he’s presented himself.
“He’s had no hiccups along the way and, touch wood, he’s been a very, very sound horse. The fact that he’s talented, we can’t train that.”
The Hopeful also drew unbeaten multiple stakes winner Long On Value, Sanford runner-up Southern Blessing and impressive recent debut winner King Cyrus. Southern Blessing is from the barn of Steve Asmussen, who also entered Big Sugar Soda, an 8 ¼-length winner of a maiden race at Saratoga on July 22.
$300,000 Hopeful Stakes
Monday, Saratoga Race Course, Race 9, 4:50 p.m. ET
2-year-olds, seven furlongs (dirt)






Southern Blessing (KY)

Rosie Napravnik

Steve Asmussen


Long On Value (VA)

Edgar Prado

Bill Mott


Casiguapo (KY)

Luis Saez

Mario Morales


Corfu (KY)

John Velazquez

Todd Pletcher


All in Blue (KY)

Irad Ortiz Jr.

Todd Pletcher


Big Sugar Soda (KY)

Mike Smith

Steve Asmussen


Lunarwarfare (FL)

Juan Leyva

Michael Yates


Wired Bryan (NY)

Shaun Bridgmohan

Michael Dilger


Strong Mandate (KY)

Jose Ortiz

D. Wayne Lukas


King Cyrus (KY)

Javier Castellano

Todd Pletcher

All runners carry 120 pounds