Hap Romps in New Hampshire Sweepstakes

Hap Romps in New Hampshire Sweepstakes
Photo: Mike Corrado
Hap, shown winning Pimlico's Dixie Stakes, won Saturday's New Hampshire Sweepstakes Handicap at Rockingham Park.
Hap retained his unblemished record for the current year, drawing off to win the $200,000 New Hampshire Sweepstakes Handicap (gr. IIIT) by seven lengths on Saturday at Rockingham Park. The win marks the second of the year for the Bill Mott-trained 5-year-old, coming on the heels of his Dixie Stakes (gr. IIT) triumph at Pimlico in May.

Hap settled in next-to-last position early on, as Hexagon set the pace while tracked by Sweeping Energy and Gander. Hap launched his bid while four wide on the second turn and easily cleared the field, bounding away in the stretch to the decisive victory under John Velazquez. Hap completed the 1 1/8 miles in 1:46.32 on firm turf.

Gander finished second, 1 3/4 lengths ahead of Flash of Joy. Shy Approval came home fourth, followed by Crown Noble, Sweeping Energy, and Hexagon.

Hap seems to relish racing in the greater New England area in the summertime. At last year's Saratoga meet, he reeled off wins in the Bernard Baruch (gr. IIT) and Fourstardave (gr. IIT) Handicaps before disappointing in the fall in the Kelso Handicap (gr. IIT) and Breeders' Cup Mile (gr. IT).

Hap (Theatrical -- Committed, by Hagley) was bred by the late Allen E. Paulson and races for Paulson's Living Trust and E.L. White. He earned $120,000 for the win, his eighth in 13 career starts.

As the 3-10 favorite, Hap returned $2.60, $2.20, and $2.20. Gander paid $2.20 and $2.20 and completed the $4.20 exacta. Flash of Joy was worth $2.20 to show. (Chart, Equibase)

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