Harold Rose's Hal's Hope goes over the million-dollar mark in earnings after winning the Gulfstream Park Handicap.
A field rich in talent and accomplishment guarantees Saturday's $300,000 Gulfstream Park Handicap (gr. I) will be the best race of the year so far for older horses.
Hal's Hope earned his first graded stakes win since the Florida Derby (gr. I) on March 11, 2000, when he went wire-to-wire to win Sunday's $100,000 Crème Fraiche Handicap (gr. III) at Gulfstream Park.
Hal's Hope, a top 3-year-old of 2000 before finishing a disappointing 16th in the Kentucky Derby, returned to the winner's circle Monday when he won the $75,000 Memorial Day Handicap at Calder Race Course.
Julian De Marc's North East Bound, a close second in the Breeder's Cup Mile (gr. I) on the turf at Churchill Downs in his last start, worked on Wednesday and remains on schedule for his expected appearance in the $500,000 Donn Handicap (gr. I) at 1 1/8 miles on Feb. 3 according to trainer Bill Perry. Others still on track for the Donn are Hal's Hope, Albert the Great, Captain Steve, Pleasant Breeze, Sir Bear, Vision and Verse, American Halo, Rich Celebration, Rock and Roll, and Noble Ruler.
The parade of longshot winners on Saturday's Grand Slam II program at Calder Race Course continued in the $100,000 Fred W. Hooper Handicap(gr. III), in which 76-1 American Halo held off General Grant and Sir Bear to win by a half-length. Under Charlene Hunt, American Halo completed the 1 1/8-mile race in 1:51.68 on a fast track.
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