Melatonin of Tarabilla Farms was given a great opportunity when Hoppertunity was sent off to the Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) in March and he took full of advantage of it in the March 12th Santa Anita Handicap (gr. I).
Not only did Melatonin notch his first graded score, but he did so in his second two-turn start. And boy did he ever win big. Melatonin went in with 16-1 odds and he came away with a 4 1/4-length victory. He followed that win up with a second-place finish in his next race, which was his first start that didn’t take place in Southern California.
“I wasn’t so much surprised that he won the Santa Anita Handicap but that he handled the distance, because I thought the distances he had been running might be somewhat beyond him,” said Melatonin trainer David Hofmans. “But he’s shown now that he can run long, and even (jockey Joe) Talamo thinks the mile and a quarter is better for him than a mile and an eighth. He said he’s a true stayer, and that surprises me.”
Next up is the $500,000 Gold Cup at Santa Anita (gr. I) on June 25th. The race comes with a “Win and You’re In” spot for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I). Melatonin will get a chance to compete with Hoppertunity in this race, but it will be a tall hill to climb, as Hoppertunity comes in as the 3-1 morning line favorite. Melatonin’s 7-2 odds make him the second-favorite.
This will be Hoppertunity’s first North American race since the Dubai World Cup, and he has trained six times at Santa Anita to prepare.