Yates Hopes Dean Delivers in Saturday’s $150,000 Fred Hooper (G3)
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – Timing is everything in life and sport and trainer Michael Yates figures Dean Delivers time could be Saturday in the $150,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes (G3) presented by Whispering Angel at Gulfstream Park.
The Fred W. Hooper for older horses going the one-turn mile on the main track is part of the blockbuster 13-race Pegasus World Cup Invitational program. Headlined by the $3 million Pegasus World Cup (G1) presented by Baccarat, the $1 million World Cup Turf (G1) presented by Qatar Racing and the $500,000 TAA Pegasus Filly & Mare Turf (G3), the card features nine stakes, seven of them graded, worth a total of $5.4 million.
Post time is 10:50 a.m. with the Hooper scheduled as Race 10 with a post time of 3:34 p.m. NBC will provide live national coverage from 4:30 to 6 p.m. All times are EST.
The Hooper honors the legendary Florida owner-breeder, who died at the age of 102 in 2000. Dean Delivers, a 4-year-old chestnut gelding was bred and is owned by Stonehedge LLC, the important Florida breeding operation developed by the late Gil Campbell, who died at the age of 91 in September 2021. Campbell’s wife Marilyn now heads Stonehedge.
Dean Delivers drew Post 11 in the 13-horse field and is seeking his first graded stakes victory. The Hooper runners have a total of 60 victories and loads of stakes placings, but the lone graded winner is Godolphin’s Prevalence, who finished first in the Commonwealth (G3) at Keeneland in April. Peter Brant and Robert LaPenta’s lightly raced 5-year-old Miles D, will make his first start since finishing third in the Mineshaft (G3) at Fair Grounds in Feb. 22.
“It looks like a pretty competitive field,” Yates said, “but he’s training well, and I think he will run very well.”
Dean Delivers, a Florida-bred son of Cajun Breeze, who Yates trained for Stonehedge, has three wins and six seconds in 11 starts. He showed some promise as a Triple Crown prospect last year and was second by a half-length in the Swale (G3). Though he was in the mix early and had the lead at one point in the Fountain of Youth (G2) on March 5, Dean Delivers faded in the stretch and ended up fifth, beaten six lengths. After running fourth in the Sophomore at Tampa Bay Downs, he was given a short break from competition.
Since his return in mid-July, Dean Delivers has a pair of wins and three second-place finishes. The most recent was in the seven furlong Mr. Prospector (G3) on Dec. 31 at Gulfstream, where he has made 10 starts.
“He ran second going a mile already and he came out of his last race and has been training very forward,” Yates said, “so we decided to run him while he was doing well.”
The second in the one-mile race was in the inaugural Gil Campbell Memorial Handicap on Oct. 1. Pressured on the lead all the way, first by Gatsby, he ended up 2 ¼ lengths behind Clapton.
“That was a tough defeat,” Yates said. “Mr. Campbell had passed away and Marilyn is carrying on the farm. We certainly wanted to win that in his honor, but he certainly gave a gallant effort.”
Dean Delivers has proven to be a capable runner in the one-turn sprints at Gulfstream and the Hooper comes along at the right time.
“So far, it looks like he can run six, seven or a mile,” Yates said. “The jury's still out on what is his best distance. I do think a mile is his limit.”
Miles D, is out of the Bernardini mare Sound the Trumpets and is named for the jazz legend Mile Davis. The Chad Brown trainee only made one start at 2 in 2020, but emerged as a stakes horse in the summer of 2021 with a second in the ungraded Curlin, named for his sire, and a third in the Travers (G1). He followed that Saratoga success with an allowance win at Belmont and a victory in the Discovery at Aqueduct. Last year, he made just the one start, finishing second at Fair Grounds. Miles D, who drew the rail, has been working weekly since late November for his eighth lifetime start.
Standing next to Miles D in the gate will be the Noble Drama, the most experienced horse in the field with 10 wins and just over $800,000 in earnings from 35 starts. Owned and trained by David Fawkes, the 8-year-old has won seven of his 14 starts at the distance.
Gulfstream’s leading trainer Saffie Joseph Jr. will saddle four in the Hooper: Mish, Picking Up Pennies, The Reds and Twelve Volt Man.
Mish, the runner-up in the Steve Sexton Mile (G3) at Lone Star Park on May 30, worked a bullet four furlongs in :46.45, the fastest of 91 at the distance, on Saturday at the Palm Meadows Training Center. He will start from Post 3. In Post 7 is Jules and Michael Iavarone’s Picking Up Pennies, who brings a three-race win streak, all at one mile, into the race. Flanagan Racing’s The Reds, will leave from Post 10 with Junior Alvarado. The Hooper will be the first start since he ran a very close fourth in a $100,000 allowance at Churchill Downs on Nov. 13. Twelve Volt Man, who will have Frankie Dettori up, was most recently second to Picking Up Pennies on Jan. 7 at Gulfstream.
Arindel homebred Octane will have Hall of Famer Mike Smith aboard when they start from Post 4. The 4-year-old son of Brethren, has missed a top-three finish just once in nine career starts and has earned $518,480. Trained by Carlos David, Octane won the Marion County Florida Sire Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs on Dec. 10.
Dream Team One Racing Stable’s homebred Hoist the Gold in Post 5 brings a stakes-heavy resume into the Hooper. In his most recent start, the 4-year-old trained by Dallas Stewart was third in the Malibu (G1), five lengths behind Taiba at Santa Anita Park. Though winless in nine straight, he has finished in the money six times.
Black Belt, trained by Peter Walder, has won all three of his starts since being claimed for $16,000 on July 29. EKB Stables and P and L Thoroughbreds own the Not This Time 5-year-old, who drew Post 6. He has won three of four tries at a mile, all at Gulfstream. The Hooper will be his stakes debut.
Doc Amster will make his 23rd career start but first for trainer Jena Antonucci in the Hooper. Off since finishing third as the 4-5 favorite in the Parx Dash in late August, Doc Amster will start from Post 8 with Hall of Fame jockey Javier Castellano in the irons.
A year ago, Mark Breen’s Endorsed trained by Mike Maker ran fourth in the Pegasus World Cup Invitational. He was recently ended a long losing streak – 10 of them in graded stakes – with a victory in his last start, a seven-furlong optional claimer on Dec. 22. Luis Saez will ride from Post 9.
Trainer Brendan Walsh will saddle the Godolphin homebred Prevalence, a son of Medaglia d’Oro. Prevalance started the 2022 season at Gulfstream and won an optional claimer in March that set him up for the Commonwealth score. He was well-beaten in his last three starts last year. Regular rider Tyler Gaffalione will be aboard when they leave from Post 12.