5 Fast Facts about the Bob Hope Stakes
- The race was founded in 1981 as the Hollywood Prevue Stakes, and was run at the old Hollywood Park racecourse in Inglewood, California. It was renamed the Bob Hope Stakes when Hollywood Park closed and Del Mar took over its 2014 dates.
- A grade three race, the seven-furlong Bob Hope Stakes hasn’t been a great Kentucky Derby guide over the years. Just one winner – Lion Heart, who won in record time in 2003 – would go on to finish in the first four in the Derby, finishing second to Smarty Jones. However, the runner-up in the first renewal of the race in 1981 was Gato Del Sol, who won the Derby the next year.
- The Kentucky Derby record might well have been better but for injuries to two recent victors. Shared Belief won the Eclipse Award for champion 2-year-old male in 2013 but was forced off the Derby trail through a foot abscess; he won the Pacific Classic (G1) and Awesome Again Stakes (G1) on his return. Similarly, 2016 winner Mastery would have been one of the favorites in 2017 but for breaking down after impressively winning the San Felipe Stakes (G2) in March.
- Declan’s Moon, like Shared Belief, won the Eclipse Award for champion 2-year-old male after winning this race in 2004 instead of contesting the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile and then taking the Hollywood Futurity (G1). Injury also kept him out of the Kentucky Derby, and he was never the same racehorse again, but he did win a 2013 contest for horse best suited for dressage at the Pennsylvania Horse World Exposition, an event held as part of the Retired Racehorse Training Project’s 100-day challenge.
- Afternoon Deelites won the event at his second raceday start in 1994. Like Shared Belief, Mastery, and Declan’s Moon, he then won the Hollywood Futurity, the first of two grade one victories. He sired 23 stakes winners, but his most recognizable progeny is Popcorn Deelites, best-known for playing Seabiscuit in the 2003 movie.
(Photo by Benoit Photography)