2014 Kentucky Derby Contenders: Hoppertunity

Al Bello

Our look at the contenders for the 2014 Kentucky Derby turns to Rebel Stakes winner Hoppertunity.

Hoppertunity

Hoppertunity_medium

Trainer: Bob Baffert
Owner: Karl Watson, Mike Pegram & Paul Weitman
Jockey: Mike Smith
Sire: Any Given Saturday
Dam: Refugee (Unaccounted For)
Lifetime Record: 5-2-1-0
Lifetime Earnings: $610,720

Future Wager Odds: Pool 1 - 4/5 (Field); Pool 2 - 3/2 (Field); Pool 3 - 3/1 (Field); Pool 4 - 15/1

Notable Races: G1-Santa Anita Derby (2nd); G2-Rebel Stakes (1st); G2-Risen Star (4th)

The Good

When Hoppertunity is able to get out of the gate and up near the lead in the early stages, he's run good to solid races. When he's failed to get into the race early, he's finished well behind the winner at the wire. And while he wasn't close to catching California Chrome in the Santa Anita Derby, he was a good three and a half lengths clear of Candy Boy in a race that, for me, validated his win in the Rebel.

The (maybe) Bad

I think Hoppertunity has to break well at the start as his margin for error, based on prior races in his career, is very thin if he's not up near the lead in the early stages. Every year at least one or two horses encounter loads of trouble within the first 100 yards of the gate; Hoppertunity is a horse that can ill afford to get mixed up in any issues at the start of the race.

Final Thoughts

Hoppertunity falls into that mix of contenders where I can find things to like about him but, at the same time, not feel like he has any better of a chance at victory than a bunch of others in this field. He's run some good races, some average races, and little to no clunkers, but I've never watched him run and felt he was at the top of this crop of three-year-olds.  As a result, I haven't a clue as to what I'm doing with this colt on Derby day. He's probably going to be a toss on most of my bets but, yeah, I don't really know.

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