Endorsed Makes the Grade in $150,000 Fred Hooper (G3)
Second Straight Win for Maker-Trained 7-Year-Old
HALLANDALE BEACH, FL – After serving notice that his form was improving, Endorsed scored the first graded stakes victory of his long career Saturday at Gulfstream Park with a triumph in the $150,000 Fred W. Hooper Stakes (G3) presented by Whispering Angel.
In his 33rd career start, the 7-year-old son of Medaglia d’Oro prevailed by 2 ¾ lengths over Octane, who finished a nose ahead of Dean Delivers.
Though often competitive in his career, Endorsed ended a 23-race losing streak on Dec. 22 at Gulfstream Park. That win, his first since May 2020, followed a second by a half-length in November at Keeneland.
Sent off a 9-2 in the one-mile Hooper, he benefitted from a quick early pace with fractions of 23.73 seconds, 46.09 and 1:10.46. Endorsed was strong in the stretch under jockey Luis Saez, took the lead at the sixteenth pole and completed the eight furlongs in 1:35.67. He paid $11.80 to win.
Mark Breen claimed Endorsed for $100,000 at Saratoga in 2021 and moved him to trainer Mike Maker. With the Hooper victory, the Godolphin homebred out of the Tapit mare Dance Card, has a 2-2-2 record in 14 starts for Breen and Maker. He was fourth in last year’s Pegasus World Cup at odds of 85-1.
$150,000 Fred W. Hooper (G3) Quotes
Winning trainer Mike Maker (Endorsed): “A nice speed duel developed. Luis [Saez] had him in a nice position and he proved best. He’s lost a few tough races, maybe now he’s finally figuring out how to win.”
Winning jockey Luis Saez (Endorsed): “He's a great horse and on the improve. I really liked the way he beat me the last time I was on Legends Can't Die. All the speed was on the inside and they were cooking. I felt as if I was on morning workout just waiting to make my move. Everything just worked out great.”