Hoppertunity after his win in the 2016 San Antonio Stakes (G2)

Hoppertunity after his win in the 2016 San Antonio Stakes (G2)

Benoit Photo

Hoppertunity Seeks San Antonio Repeat

Any Given Saturday horse has never finished out of the top five in his 24 starts.

Karl Watson, Mike Pegram, and Paul Weitman's Hoppertunity will look for his second straight score in the $300,000 San Antonio Stakes (G2) Feb. 4 at Santa Anita Park.

The 6-year-old, Bob Baffert-trained son of Any Given Saturday took the 2016 edition of the 1 1/8-mile dirt test by a nose over Imperative and went on to win the Jockey Club Gold Cup, his second grade 1 score, in October at Belmont Park.

BALAN: Hoppertunity Edges Imperative in San Antonio

Hoppertunity, who has won six races from 24 starts in a career that dates back to January of 2014, has finished in the top five—which includes a share of the purse—in all of his races. His consistency has led to nearly $3.9 million in earnings.

Baffert also has another grade 1 winner entered in Michael Peterson's Mor Spirit, but the Eskendereya ridgling will be seeking his first victory in nearly a year. His last win came in the 2016 Robert B. Lewis Stakes (G3).

The pair worked in company Jan. 30 at Santa Anita and each was credited with six furlongs in 1:10 4/5.

SHEA: Baffert Workers Turn in Bullets at Santa Anita

"They both worked very well," Baffert said Monday. "The track was a little bit on the fast side today, but they worked very well."

While San Pasqual Stakes (G2) winner Midnight Storm  will likely train up to the March 11 Santa Anita Handicap (G1), the three horses who finished immediately behind him last time out will look for their first handicap-division success in the San Antonio.

Hronis Racing's Accelerate was closest Jan. 1 on a wet-fast main track at Santa Anita, 1 1/4 lengths behind Midnight Storm, and the John Sadler trainee, who bloomed late in his 3-year-old year, could continue to improve at 4. The Lookin At Lucky  colt won the Los Alamitos Derby (G2) in September, then ran third—a neck behind grade 1 winner Gun Runner —in the Las Vegas Breeders' Cup Dirt Mile (G1).

Also back from the San Pasqual is Dalmore (third) and Prospect Park (fourth).

Rounding out the field is grade 1 winner and millionaire Hard Aces, who won one race (the grade 3 Cougar II Handicap) in 11 starts last year, and California-bred stakes winners Avanti Bello and El Huerfano, who have recently competed in the allowance ranks in Southern California.

Erin Shea contributed to this report.

Entries: San Antonio S. (G2)

Santa Anita Park, Saturday, February 04, 2017, Race 8

  • Grade II
  • 1 1/16m
  • Dirt
  • $300,000
  • 4 yo's & up
  • 4:02 PM (local)
11Hoppertunity (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateFlavien Prat125Bob Baffert2/1
22Avanti Bello (CA)Mario Gutierrez120Doug F. O'Neill12/1
34El Huerfano (CA)Victor Espinoza120Peter Miller12/1
45Mor Spirit (PA)Mike E. Smith122Bob Baffert3/1
56Dalmore (FL)Keeneland Sales GraduateKent J. Desormeaux122J. Keith Desormeaux8/1
67Accelerate (KY)Keeneland Sales GraduateTyler Baze125John W. Sadler5/2
78Hard Aces (KY)Santiago Gonzalez122John W. Sadler6/1