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Hopper gives Baffert his first Oaklawn Mile (G3) victory
Saturday, April 1, 2023

Hopper bested Caddo River by nearly two lengths in Saturday's $400,000 Oaklawn Mile (G3) to give Bob Baffert his first win in three tries in the race for older males.

Breaking from the outside post in the field of seven, Hopper was fourth and in the three path going around the first turn. He moved up into second after three furlongs, with jockey John Velazquez sitting a couple of lengths off pacesetter Atoka. Hopper and Caddo River swept past Atoka coming into the stretch and after a short tussle, Hopper surged clear in the final furlong to win by 1 ¾-lengths in 1:37.63 for the mile on the fast track.

“It worked out the way we thought,” said Velazquez. “He broke from the outside. Coming from the outside, he was a little slow the first two jumps. He got into the race pretty easily going into the first turn. Got into the position I wanted, just kind of sat and waited for the other horses to come to him. And he put up a good fight.”

Winner of last year’s Affirmed S. (G3), 4-year-old Hopper is now 3-1-0 in six starts and has earned $419,000 for owners Lanni Bloodstock, Madaket Stables LLC and SF Racing LLC.

Baffert 2013