Living up to his name and then some, Cheyenne Stable’s Mastery, the 1-5 favorite in only the second race of his life, put his talent on display Saturday with an impressive victory in the featured $ 100,000 Bob Hope Stakes at Del Mar.
Appearing to be on cruise control from the gate under jockey Mike Smith, Mastery scored by one and one-quarter lengths, a margin which doesn’t indicate the ease with which he won the seven-furlong sprint. California Diamond, the 3-1 second choice, tried hard in the stretch to overhaul the winner but settled for second, one and one-half lengths in front of third-place with Ann Arbor Eddie third and Oopper Walsh fourth. Bernin Sensation was fifth and last in the field of two-year-olds.
“It went well after we got away from there,” Smith said. “He was a little funny in the gate; had some of those second-race jiggers. But once we got rolling he was fine. He’s got a beautiful stride — big, long and powerful. He’ll go two turns, too. These seven eighths races (the Bob Hope was at seven furlongs) can be tougher than a two-turner. He handled this race fine. I think two turns will be fine, too.”
Mastery, trained by Bob Baffert, ran the distance in 1:23.32, with a final furlong in 11.61 seconds. The son of Candy Ride was brilliant in winning his debut by four and one-quarter lengths at Santa Anita Oct. 22.
“We knew he was a nice horse when he broke his maiden, but from what we saw today he could be something,” Baffert said. “The second out is so important. They can run well in the first outing and then take a step back. We didn’t have him super cranked for the first out and this one was a lot of him (talent). He just shipped down this morning and he shipped well. Now’s he’s got that experience. He didn’t look exhausted afterwards but he didn’t really have to exert himself.”
Mastery, a $ 425,000 yearling buy at Keeneland‘s September 2015 sale by owner Everett Dobson of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, earned $ 60,000 with his victory in the Bob Hope. To his backers, the colt returned $ 2.60, $ 2.10 and $ 2.10. There was a minus show pool of $ 54,724.
California Diamond, who was ridden by Norberto Arroyo, Jr., paid $ 2.60 and $ 2.10, while Ann Arbor Eddie returned $ 2.40 to show.
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