A compact field of six juveniles will go seven furlongs on the Del Mar dirt in Saturday’s $100,000 Bob Hope S. (G3). Bob Baffert and Doug O’Neil each have two in the field, and the race figures to come down to one coming out of those barns.

Analysis

The field lacks a confirmed front-runner as every contestant raced from off the pace some in the last start.

Strongconstitution is likely the quickest juvenile and I expect him to lead the way early. High Velocity and Howbeit are also eligible to be up close pressing the pacesetter, and morning-line favorite Thousand Words will be rallying from off the pace.

Wagers

  • $40 Win High Velocity

Bob Hope Stakes field:

#1 RAGER (12-1) is a second-time starter who recovered from a tardy break to win his debut in a turf dash at Santa Anita. Bay colt has posted a pair of slow morning drills in the interim, and the $87,000 juvenile purchase will be coming from off the pace in his dirt debut. Martin Garcia has the assignment.

#2 HOWBEIT (12-1) has won two in succession including a smart allowance win at Santa Anita last out following a barn change to O’Neill. The Secret Circle colt owns a second from a pair of races on the oval, and he will be part of the early action with a clean break under Rafael Bejarano.

#3 THOUSAND WORDS (7-5) finished full of energy in an impressive debut tally, registering a field-best 89 BRIS Speed rating, and the $1 million colt looks like a fine prospect going forward. The Baffert-trained son of Pioneerof the Nile will be the one to hold off late with Flavien Prat.

#4 ZIMBA WARRIOR (12-1) ran evenly late when third in the Sunny Slope in advance of his graded debut. Keith Desormeaux charge was third on debut at Del Mar behind Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) star Storm the Court, and the chestnut son of Khozan and the colt will be running on late today beneath Jose Valdivia.

#5 HIGH VELOCITY (5-2) posted a sharp debut win for Baffert. $350,000 son of Quality Road tracked the pace before easing home to a measured two-length score and the Kentucky-bred shows four morning drills since that tally. High Velocity figures to receive a similar trip this afternoon with Drayden Van Dyke picking up the mount and rates a slight edge.

#6 STRONGCONSTITUTION (9-5) is the likely pacesetter following a game runner-up in the Sunny Slope. A wire-to-wire debut winner on turf, $220,000 son of the fine young sire Constitution fired a bullet half-mile at Del Mar last weekend, and he could be the one to catch turning for home with Abel Cedillo in the controls.