Shanghai Bobby is too much for Fortify
Report: USA, Monday
Saratoga: Hopeful Stakes (Grade 2)
GODOLPHIN'S golden run at Saratoga suffered a minor blip when Hopeful Stakes favourite Fortify was beaten into second by Shanghai Bobby (Todd Pletcher/Rosie Napravnik) on the closing day of Saratoga's seven-week summer meeting.
However, while the 8-5 favourite was beaten nearly four lengths into second behind an impressive winner, this was nevertheless a promising effort as Shanghai Bobby was taking his unbeaten sequence to three.
On the other hand, the Kiaran McLaughlin-trained Fortify came here after just one previous outing, a runaway maiden win at this venue last month.
He was staying on nicely at the end of the 7f event. "Fortify ran very well," said McLaughlin. "He finished second today but we feel like he's going to keep improving. That's a big step up, so we're happy."
Remarkably, given some of the dross masquerading as Grade 1 events in North America, the Three Chimneys-sponsored Hopeful has lost its top-level status for 2012.
The race may well have produced a couple of Grade 1 performers, though, as there was much to admire about the performance of Shanghai Bobby, a 23rd two-year-old winner at Saratoga this year for Todd Pletcher, who won his ninth trainers' title with a total of 36 victories.
"We felt like this summer the two-year-olds were training very well, and we were coming in holding a strong hand," said Pletcher.
Shanghai Bobby, a son of Harlan's Holiday, rolled to an easy victory after challenging three wide at the turn. He would now appear a major contender for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile were it not for a significant issue: Lasix is banned for this year's race at Santa Anita, and his owners are opposed to this ban.