Greyvitos Speeds to 19-1 Upset in Bob Hope Stakes

The $100,000 Bob Hope Stakes (G3) Nov. 11 at Del Mar fit the "races aren't run on paper" mantra.

Bob Hope entrants Mourinho, Run Away, and Italiano had all shown ample speed in their young careers, and longshot Greyvitos, who drew the inside post in the field of six had not. Greyvitos hadn't won a race in two starts, either.

But with the addition of blinkers and some aggressive riding from Victor Espinoza, the 2-year-old Malibu Moon  colt shot to the front in the seven-furlong test and led every step of the way to break his maiden in the grade 3 event.

"I knew there was a lot of speed in the race, but if I could get the jump on them, then I would just go on," Espinoza said. "(With) post No. 1, I had to do something. The fractions were pretty quick, but when the horse is doing it easy, it doesn’t matter how fast you go.

Triple B Farms' Greyvitos, who is trained by Adam Kitchingman, never led by less than a length at a point of call in the Bob Hope and set fractions of :22.66, :45.20, and 1:09.56 through six furlongs, but did get a challenge from Mourinho, who loomed as they turned for home.

Mourinho, who was seeking to give trainer Bob Baffert his ninth Bob Hope win (the race was called the Hollywood Prevue Stakes when it was at Hollywood Park), ran blazing fractions (:21.32 and :44.55) in his last start, when he ran second to fellow Bob Hope entrant Beautiful Shot in the Oct. 15 Speakeasy Stakes at Santa Anita Park. On Saturday, Beautiful Shot had his blinkers removed.

In a stalking position this time, Mourinho tried but could not get by the 19-1 leader, who prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths at the wire in a final time of 1:22.20. Beautiful Shot finished third and grade 2 winner Run Away tired to finish fifth.

"We had a great trip, sat right behind the winner, got out, and had a chance to run him down but couldn’t," said Mourinho's jockey, Drayden Van Dyke.

Greyvitos, who was bred in Virginia by Audley Farm Equine out of the Najran mare Snow Top Mountain, never led at a point of call in his two previous starts. In his debut at a mile on the Santa Anita grass in July, he showed speed but tired to finish eighth. His second start came sprinting in another maiden special weight on the main track at Santa Anita, where he closed from sixth to finish third behind winner Italiano.

"I wasn't surprised to see him on the lead. In his last race, he was climbing with the dirt hitting him and so I was OK with him on the lead today," said Kitchingman, who also indicated the colt's next start would be in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) Dec. 9. "Those were solid fractions and the final time was good. With his pedigree, we figured him for a grass horse and definitely for two turns, because he's bred top and bottom for that. And we might run him again on the grass sometime in the future. But he trained so well on the dirt that we wanted to try him on it."

Greyvitos increased his earnings to $66,345 with the victory. He was a $100,000 purchase out of the 2016 Keeneland September yearling sale.

Video: Bob Hope S. (G3)