Phipps Stable's 5-year-old homebred Philanthropist, who arrives from New York with a three-race win streak, and Robert LaPenta's 6-year-old gelding Seek Gold, runner-up in the Fred Hooper Handicap (gr. III) at Calder last out, will face off in a field of nine older horses entered for the 1 1/8-mile Hal's Hope at Gulfstream Park Saturday.
Philanthropist is a son of Kris S. who has come to hand late in his career for trainer Shug McGaughey. He earned a chance in the bigger races this winter after two allowance scores and a game neck victory over West Virginia last out in the Queens County Handicap (gr. III) at Aqueduct on Dec. 10.
Seek Gold is a Touch Gold gelding trained by Nick Zito who has been competitive in top handicap races on his best days, notably when second to 2005 Horse of the Year candidate Saint Liam in the Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs the year before.
Seek Gold finished fourth to Saint Liam in the Donn Handicap here last winter before going to the sidelines for most of the summer. He signaled he may be ready to test the division again here this year when runner-up to stablemate Andromeda's Hero in the Fred Hooper.1--Philanthropist, 115, Edgar S. Prado
2--Seek Gold, 114, Rafael Bejarano
3--Ricardo A, 113, Edwin L. King, Jr.
4--Itsawonderfulife, 112, Rajiv Maragh
5--On Thin Ice, 114, Shaun Bridgmohan
6--Network, 114, Javier Castellano
7--Niigon, 117, Cornelio H. Velasquez
8--Wiggins, 113, Mark Guidry
9--Dazzling Dr. Cevin, 112, John R. Velazquez