Updated 09/03/2012 06:05 PM
The Spa Spot: Shanghai Bobby flies home in Hopeful
Shanghai Bobby pulls away in the Hopeful
Starlight Racing's Shanghai Bobby stayed unbeaten with a decisive 3 3/4-length victory Monday in the Grade 2 Hopeful.
Ridden by Rosie Napravnik, the Harlan's Holiday colt paid $6.30. Godolphin's Fortify was second.
Shanghai Bobby broke his maiden in April at Aqueduct and won the Track Barron on June 27 at Belmont Park He was scheduled to start in the Saratoga Special, the second of Saratoga's three graded stakes for 2-year-old males, but was scratched when it was discovered that he had a fever. He recovered quickly and was pointed to the seven-furlong Hopeful on closing day.
Don Lucarelli of Duanesburg is one of the principals in Starlight, which now has a leading contender for the 2-year-old title.
“He showed today that he’s a good-caliber horse and we think the next logical step is at Belmont and hopefully off to the Breeders’ Cup," Lucarelli said.
"From a colt standpoint, this [victory] is probably the best for me. At Saratoga to have a colt of this caliber and a lot of potential...it’s very gratifying.”
However, Lucarelli said he is not sure that Shanghai Bobby will go onto the Breeders' Cup, which will require 2-year-olds to compete without Lasix this year.
Trainer Todd Pletcher said having to miss the Saratoga Special and run two weeks later may have been for the best.
“Now we’re on a better schedule for the Champagne," Pletcher said. "That was a very professional effort from him. So far, he’s been very good. It seemed like he won with a little something left today; he was pricking his ears when he came to the wire. We’re very proud of him.
The Grade 1 Champagne will be run on October 6 at Belmont Park.
Shanghai Bobby stalked the early pace, moved up to challenge Majestic Hussar and Overanalyze in the turn and quickly opened up a lead at the top fo the stretch.
“He was actually quite a handful today. Usually, he’s a little more relaxed," Napravnik said. "Today, he was keyed up. It was all positive energy. He was ready to go. He did rate properly and finished really strong.
"He’s a very talented horse. I really liked this horse since day one. He’s very sensible, and he’s been moving forward every race and really maturing. I thought he was going to excel off his last race. It’s great to have him back and in good shape. I’m sure he’ll move forward off of this as well.”