December 5, 2020

Extra Hope turns tables on Midcourt in Native Diver

Extra Hope
Extra Hope and jockey Juan Hernandez, second from right Native Diver Stakes © BENOIT PHOTO

Twelve months after futilely chasing a loose-on-the-lead Midcourt, Extra Hope turned the tables on that rival when taking the early initiative and never looking back in Saturday’s $98,000 Native Diver Stakes (G3) at Del Mar.

Sent to the lead by Juan Hernandez, Extra Hope maintained an advantage of around a length over Midcourt throughout the entire 1 1/8-mile trip. The fractions were :23.86, :47.79, and 1:11.45.

In the stretch, all three of Extra Hope’s rivals took a run at the long-time leader, but he spurned them all and crossed the wire one length in front of Midcourt, who was sent off as the 2-5 favorite. Finishing third was Combatant and trailing throughout was Royal Ship, a stablemate of the winner who stumbled badly at the start.

A homebred racing for Samantha Siegel’s Jay Em Ess Stable, Extra Hope returned $10.40 after covering 9 furlongs over a fast track in 1:50.11. He’s trained by Richard Mandella.

This was the first career stakes win for Extra Hope, who placed in the Los Alamitos Futurity (G1) at two and in the Native Diver and Damascus S. last season from five prior stakes attempts. He had raced only twice this year before Saturday, finishing a distant fifth in an Aug. 22 allowance at Del Mar and then winning a Sept. 26 allowance at Santa Anita by three parts of a length. His record now stands at 14-4-2-3, $294,831.

“He’d had a good (2019) run and needed a rest. Nothing critical to be taken care of,” Mandella said earlier this week. “We were really disappointed with his first start back, but then he was perfect in the second one.”

Bred in Kentucky, Extra Hope is by champion juvenile Shanghai Bobby and out of Lotsandlotsofhope, by Tiznow. This is the same female family as multiple Grade 1 turf star Got Stormy and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile (G1) winner New Year’s Day.

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