Sunday, September 08, 2013
Strong Mandate crushes G1 Hopeful field
Tiznow's Strong Mandate turned in the most impressive performance by a 2-year-old this year in Monday's $300,000 Hopeful S. at Saratoga, destroying the field by 9 3/4-lengths.
Strong Mandate is Tiznow's third Grade 1 winner of 2013, second-most of all North American sires.
Owned by Bob Baker and Bill Mack, Strong Mandate rated nicely in third under jockey Jose Ortiz behind favored Corfu, who led through quick fractions of :22.47 seconds for a quarter mile and 45.15 for the half.
Staying clear on the outside, Strong Mandate hit the top of the stretch in front as Corfu began to drop back. Strong Mandate really got into gear in the lane, drawing away with every stride to hit the wire in 1:23.55 for seven furlongs over the sloppy, sealed track.
"I thought he'd run huge; I really did," said trainer D. Wayne Lukas. "I was a little concerned about the surface; you always are. He had a really good prep race, and he hadn't done anything wrong since then. I thought we'd get a good one, but you never expect to waltz home like that, though. Ever."
Strong Mandate was making his third start of the Saratoga meet, after finishing fifth in his July 22 debut, then breaking his maiden on Aug. 17 by 4 1/2-lengths after Lukas added blinkers.
"He's a big, strong, powerful horse, but he's got a little bit of kick to him," Lukas continued. "I told Jose, 'Don't be so surprised if you're laying right there. Just be a little careful with the fractions.' He was comfortable. I told him to come right up the four hole coming home, and it looks like he did."
Purchased as a yearling for $200,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September Yearling sale, Strong Mandate pushed his purse earnings to $230,400.
Strong Mandate is out of the million-dollar earner Clear Mandate, who accounted for the Spinster (G1), Shuvee H. (G1) and the John A. Morris H. (G1) in her stellar career. Her foals include multiple Grade 3 winner Newfoundland and the stakes winner Full Mandate.