Hal's Hope, winning the Creme Fraiche at Gulfstream Park.

Hal's Hope, winning the Creme Fraiche at Gulfstream Park.

Hal's Hope Earns First Graded Win Since Florida Derby

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. The win marks the third graded stakes win for the 5-year-old Harold Rose homebred, who won the Holy Bull Stakes (gr. III) two starts prior to the Florida Derby.

Under Roger Velez, Hal's Hope set fractions of :47.74 and 1:11.85 while on a clear lead, rebuffed a brief bid from Deferred Comp, then drew off in the stretch to win the 1 1/16-mile race by 2 1/4 lengths over 38-1 longshot American Halo. Windsor Castle finished a neck farther back in third, another neck ahead of favored Rize. Deferred Comp, Best of the Rest, Free of Love, Dancing Guy, and Watch Your Pennies completed the order of finish.

Hal's Hope won two listed stakes race last year and completed that season with a second-place finish to Kiss a Native in the Fred W. Hooper Handicap (gr. III) on Dec. 29. This year, he finished third in Sir Bear's Skip Away Handicap (gr. III) and seventh in the Donn Handicap (gr. I). The son of Jolie's Halo completed the distance in 1:42.40 on a fast track while earning $60,000 for Rose, who also trains the horse.

Sent off at nearly 4-1, Hal's Hope paid $9.80, $6, and $4. American Halo paid $28.60 and $12 and completed the $252.20 exacta. Windsor Castle paid $6.80. (Chart, Equibase)