Photo: Joe Labozzetta/NYRA
Hoppertunity, who at the relatively advanced Thoroughbred age of 7 continues to win races in top company, will carry high weight of 125 pounds in the Grade 3, $100,000 Cougar II Handicap at the marathon distance of a mile and one-half over Del Mar’s main dirt track.
The son of Any Given , owned by Mike Pegram, Karl Watson and Paul Weitman and conditioned throughout his career by Bob Baffert, will have seven rivals in the mid-week headliner.
Seeking to upset Hoppertunity, to be ridden by Flavien Prat, will be Twentytwentyvision, 118, Tyler Baze; Unapologetic, 118, Mike Smith; Little Scotty, 116, apprentice Asa Espinoza; Full of Luck, 119, Kent Desormeaux; Deal With It Dude, 115, Drayden Van Dyke; Prince of Arabia, 119, Stewart Elliott, and Beach View, 116, Rafael Bejarano.
Hoppertunity, two-for-two at the 12-furlong distance of the Cougar, has won two of four starts in 2018 – the Tokyo City Handicap by six and one-half lengths at Santa Anita in April and the Grade 2 Brooklyn Handicap at Belmont Park in June by two and one-quarter lengths. Most recently, he was fourth in the Suburban.
Unapologetic comes into the Cougar on a two-race win streak in optional claiming company, the first victory of which was at twelve furlongs. Twentytwentyvision was runner-up to Hoppertunity in the Tokyo City while Chilean-bred Full of Luck has competed in stakes company in three races since being imported to the United States.