Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman’s Hoppertunity became racing’s newest millionaire with a commanding 1 ¾-length victory in the $200,000 San Pasqual S. (G2) Saturday at Santa Anita Park.
Hoppertunity made a record fifth time Bob Baffert has won the San Pasqual; the first time 16 years ago with Hall of Famer Silver Charm.
Martin Garcia saved all the ground in the early stages after breaking a step slow, settling along the rail about six lengths off the lead after a half-mile in :46.35. The 4-year-old colt began to gain ground around the turn, and cut the corner at the top of the stretch to make the lead in the next sixteenth, and then went on to pull clear late. The final time was 1:41.69 for the 1 1/16-miles.
“We had this race in mind,” said Baffert. “We know every race is going to be different, so we’ll just let him space his races out. He could show up anywhere; I don’t know yet.”
“He’s a damn good horse,” Pegram echoed. “Martin had to use him to get a position and when he pushed the button, he went. This horse has proven he can ship, so we know he can travel and he likes it here. It’s nice to have options.”
After Saturday’s $120,000 payday, Hoppertunity upped his earnings to $1,070,675. He closed out 2014 with a victory in the Clark H. (G1) at Churchill Downs, and also won last year’s Rebel S. (G2).
Baffert noted that Hoppertunity will be nominated for races around the country, including the Grade 1 Santa Anita H. on March 7.