Arthur’s Hope scores determined front-running victory in Say Florida Sandy Stakes

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

NYRA/Elsa Lorieul

By Sarah Mace

Laurel Park-based Arthur’s Hope made his Saturday road trip to the Aqueduct a winning one for owner Raul DelValle and trainer Marco Salazar when he wired the third running of the $100,000 Say Florida Sandy Stakes for older New York-breds. Staying the course of the seven furlong contest, the 6-year-old horse by former New York-based sire Smart Bid showed determination to the finish, foiling the best efforts of runner-up T Loves a Fight to reel him in.

The controlling speed on paper in the well-matched field of six and fourth betting choice at odds of 5-1, Arthur’s Hope was aggressively gunned to the front from post five by jockey Kendrick Carmouche, who was determined to get his mount involved early. Aveenu Malcainu from post one (11-1) and T Loves a Fight from post four (9-2), for their part, were minded not to let Arthur’s Hope get away.

As the leading trio raced up the backstretch, Arthur’s Hope opened up a 1 1/2-length cushion on T Loves a Fight, while Aveenu Malcainu, switched to the outside, chased another 1 1/2 lengths back in third. The early fractions went in 23.17 and 45.90.

T Loves a Fight issued his first challenge as the trio exited the turn, but Arthur’s Hope regained his advantage in upper stretch. T Loves a Fight then took another crack at him in in the final furlong, only to be rebuffed again.

Ultimately Arthur’s Hope crossed the wire a one-length winner and T Loves a Fight was followed another 1 1/4 lengths back by Aveenu Malcainu in third. Caretaker, the 8-5 favorite, finished fourth, followed by 2-1 My Boy Tate and Celtic Chaos. Morning Breez was scratched. After six furlongs in 1:10.41, the final time for seven over the fast main track was 1:23.42. [VIDEO REPLAY]

NYRA/Susie Raisher

Carmouche, who had the call aboard Arthur’s Hope for the first time, said he took his main cues from trainer Marco Salazar and speed-favoring natured of the main track.

“[Salazar] called me from Delaware this morning and said to just put him on the lead and don’t fight with him too much. I warmed him up good on track just before the race. He switched leads perfectly and he held them off in the deep stretch.

“Regardless of the scratch [of Morning Breez] I was going to the front no matter what. It was just a matter of how far he could go with the distance at seven-eighths. With the track favoring speed the last three days, it worked out perfect.”

Dylan Davis, aboard hard-knocking T Loves a Fight, commented on the pressure campaign he waged against the Arthur’s Hope from the ouset.

“I was just playing the track bias today,” Davis said. “I wanted to break sharp and I knew Kendrick was going to go – he had speed and the track was playing speed. I wanted to be forwardly placed. [T Loves a Fight] was running against what he likes to do – he’s a closer – but just trying make up that one length was really tough. He fought hard.”

Bred by Monhill Farm where he was foaled, Arthur’s Hope brought $22,000 from Stud Marluna at the 2015 Keeneland September yearling sale before beginning his career in Panama, where he won eight of 11 starts. He is one of two winners for his dam Prom Dance, a winning New York-bred mare by Citidancer bred by Monhill Farm & Country Life Farm. His second dam Varsity Gold is a Stonewall Farm homebred.

Upon returning “home” in May 2018, he won a first-level state-bred allowance at Belmont in his first try. His next victory would not come until February 2019 in another state-bred allowance, but two starts later, at Parx on May 27, Arthur’s Hope delivered a break-out performance, earning earned a triple-digit Beyer for winning a 6-furlong allowance.

With 12 wins from 26 starts and three seconds over his career thus far, Arthur’s Hope has earned $255,748.

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