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Hopkins draws away in Palos Verdes S. (G3)
Sunday, February 5, 2023

Hopkins asserted himself nicely in the final furlong of the Palos Verdes S. (G3), drawing off to win the six-furlong affair by 2 ¼-lengths and earn his first career stakes victory.

Hopkins is the fourth Palos Verdes winner for Bob Baffert, tied for the most with three other conditioners. The 5-year-old is owned by SF Racing, Starlight Racing, Madekat Stables, Stonestreet Stables, Golconda Stables, Siena Farm and Robert E. Masterson.

Hopkins got a stalking trip under Juan Hernandez. The bay tracked the Straight No Chaser through a half-mile in a swift :44.10. Then after a brief tussle emerged with the lead. Radical Right put in a mild bid in midstretch, but Hopkins had another gear and finished strongly in 1:08.80 on a fast track.

He earned a 97 Beyer Speed Figure for the win, his best since a career-debut 104 in late 2021.

“I just played the break and I just watched the other horses,” Said Hernandez. “I saw the one (Straight No Chaser) broke really fast, he broke way better than me, and I broke better than the outside horses. So, I just let him go and sat behind him and waited for the quarter pole to ask my horse to go. When I asked him, he picked it up really well and he got the job done.”

Baffert said that Hopkins will likely go to Dubai for his next start in the Golden Shaheen Sprint (G1) in Dubai on March 25.

“He’s a big horse and he’s improving,” Baffert said. “He’s massive. He weighed like 1,300 pounds. He’s 1,248 now. He’s starting to trim up and look good.”

Baffert 2013