Bob Hope Stakes Odds, Field & Betting Pick

The only Graded-stakes action on Sunday comes from Del Mar, where the G3 Bob Hope Stakes could be its usual Bob Baffert benefit. The trainer has three of the five runners as he bids for his 13th victory in the race, with the unbeaten Nysos spearheading a challenge that includes Mission Beach and Wine Me Up.


Bob Hope Stakes

G3 – Purse $100,000 – 7f – dirt – 2yo – 3.58pm PT

Bob Hope? Bob Baffert. The controversial master trainer has won Del Mar’s Sunday feature a record 12 times, six of the last eight, and is bidding for a three-peat after taking this in 2021 and 2022. But with three in the gate, which of the Baffert brigade is the one?

The hot favourite Nysos is the least experienced of the trio with only one run to his name. It was some run, though – he blew the field to bits over six furlongs at Santa Anita, going gate-to-wire and clearing right away to win by ten and a half lengths.

He wore blinkers there but they are off today, and there is not much anyone can say about that sort of performance. He could be a superstar or he could just have looked good against fourth-tier rivals – the third horse was well beaten next time.

Pace will be a major factor. Nysos may lead and so may his barnmate Mission Beach, who won on debut here over six furlongs. He was then part of a sizzling pace scenario in the 2023 G1 Hopeful at Saratoga over seven furlongs, when he was in front in mid-stretch but emptied quickly and finished fifth.

Mission Beach will not get home if he goes that fast again, but a more patient ride would help and that G1 class may count for something.

Baffert sends his third runner Wine Me Up out again just 16 days after he sank without trace in the 2023 G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Santa Anita over a mile-sixteenth, finishing eighth of nine.

The issue clearly was not physical, more one of stamina and class, and the cutback and the class relief could be just what he needs. He runs without blinkers for the first time in his life, which should help him relax.

Tejon Pass has also done well on the lead, taking them gate-to-wire when breaking his maiden at Santa Anita over six and a half furlongs, although it was not a fast time. It was also a moderate contest – the second, third and fourth have all been beaten since, so even if he does go to the front he may not be able to make it stick.

Stamina will be no problem for Stronghold, who won a mile maiden at Churchill Downs Racetrack by a length and a half, drawing away late. If there is a pace meltdown then he will be on the spot to take advantage, but – like Tejon Pass – the second, third and fourth from that race have all been beaten since and class is a concern.

Betting Pick

The Baffert benefit should continue – but which one? At the odds, and with blinkers off for the first time, WINE ME UP is a strong alternative to the chalk.

HorseJockeyHorse Betting Odds by JazzSports
Tejon PassMike Smith +500
Mission BeachJuan Hernandez +600
Wine Me UpRamon Vazquez +500
StrongholdAntonio Fresu +300
NysosFlavien Prat -125

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