Strong Mandate made his stakes debut a winning one in the Hopeful Stakes on Sept. 2 (Photos courtesy NYRA/Coglinese Photos).
Strong Mandate sat just behind the leader in the third position during the first part of the seven furlong race. Corfu set demanding early fractions and put up a brief fight when Strong Mandate came up to challenge him in the turn but as they hit the stretch, Corfu started to fade while Strong Mandate powered along. Strong Mandate went on to easily win the race by 9 3/4 lengths in the mud with Jose Ortiz aboard. He covered the distance in a time of 1:23.55 over a muddy track to give trainer D. Wayne Lukas, who is celebrating his 78th birthday, his seventh Hopeful victory.
"I thought he'd run huge, I really did," Lukas said. "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 went off as the sixth choice at odds of 7-1 and finished ahead of Casiguapo and Lunarwarfare with Big Sugar Soda finishing fourth. The Hopeful was Strong Mandate’s second win with his 4 ½ length maiden victory coming three weeks ago.
Bred by G. Watts Humphrey Jr., Strong Mandate was bought by Robert Baker and William Mack for $200,000 at the 2012 Keeneland September yearling sale. By Tiznow, Strong Mandate is out of the multiple Grade 1 winning mare Clear Mandate and is a half brother to Newfoundland and Full Mandate.
The Hopeful Stakes is the last graded stakes race of the Saratoga meet, which closed today. The meet opened on July 19 with Strong Mandate making his racing debut three days later.
For an Equibase chart, click here.
ORTIZ CELEBRATES WINNING THE HOPEFUL STAKES ON STRONG MANDATE