Even before she captured her debut in a track record time and by an eye-popping 21 lengths, Dr. Andrew Roberts knew Doc’s Hope was a filly with a little ability.
“I owned her father and still own her mother. She’s a little on the small side, which is unusual for a Cams Eclipse as they are usually very big horses, but she’s more compact like her mother,” said Roberts, who is a member of the Equine Drug Research Council. “We always felt like she was a pretty talented horse and when we took her to her first lifetime start at the fair at Thunder Ridge, Mike Neafus, the guy that broke her for me, told me she was pretty nice and he thought they would have to pace in at least 2:00 to beat her. Then she went out there in 1:56.4 under no urging as the breaks were on the whole way. We knew from that point on she was a tremendously talented horse.”
Unfortunately, that first start on May 29, 2011, was to be the only time the daughter of Cams Eclipse and the unraced Artsplace mare The House of Pan, would make it to the gate as a freshman.
|New Image Media photo|
|Doc's Hope has already banked $40,274 in eight 2013 starts.|
A half-sister to The Marathon Pan (The Panderosa p,5,1:50.3s, $137,199), The Isle Of Pan (Noble Ability p,4,1:53.1h, $345,566) and Doc’s Bonanza (The Panderosa p,5,1:49.4z, $66,075) and a full sister to Doc’s Hoss (p,5,1:52.3s, $62,370), Doc’s Hope was pointed towards races at Hoosier Park, but after she was unable to get in, Roberts decided to prepare her for the Kentucky Sire Stakes. Shortly before she was scheduled to compete, she stepped on a rock, badly bruising the bottom of one of her P3 bones.
“We had no luck with Hoosier because she’s not an Indiana-bred,” Roberts recalled. “So we started preparing her for the sire stakes and I had some large offers to sell her. When she stepped on that rock we were really worried she had broken a bone and we took her to Rood and Riddle Equine Hospital. Even though I have a small x-ray machine we couldn’t find anything and she was still lame. That’s where we did the MRI on her and discovered the significant bone bruise she had, so we did the right thing and stopped on her to bring her back as a 3-year-old. I sent her down to Hawkinsville, Ga., to Tom Brinkerhoff and he did a magnificent job with her.”
Doc’s Hope returned to the races with back-to-back qualifiers on May 15, 2012 and May 22, 2012 at Scioto Downs. She was then sent to Ontario and won her first pari-mutuel start on May 31 at Mohawk under the care of Marie St. Charles. In her first five races, she won three and was second twice.
After seven starts in Canada, the filly returned to the Bluegrass State in August and won her first start at The Red Mile on August 11, then finished second in the first leg of the sire stakes before another mishap banished her to the sidelines.
“She wasn’t acting quite right after that second and then she developed a very high fever we couldn’t control so she had to go back to Rood and Riddle,” Roberts said. “She stayed there for 10 days and we tried to basically race her in the sire stakes final right out of the hospital. It didn’t go very well (she finished sixth).”
The filly was off until Nov. 28 when she won her qualifier at Sports Creek Raceway. For the rest of the year, Doc’s Hope campaigned at Woodbine. Her 2012 tally was 14-5-4-2, with $65,919 in the bank and a mark of 1:52.1s.
This year, the 4-year-old performed seven times at Woodbine and just last week at Yonkers Raceway. Doc’s Hope is 8-3-0-2 and has already netted a little over $40,000 and lowered her mark to 1:51.4s. Her next engagement is in the first leg of the Bluechip Matchmaker Series at Yonkers Raceway on Friday (March 22). She will leave from post four in the sixth race on the card and has earned the most money, as well as paced the fastest mile, of any of the seven mares in the field.
“She has been a hard luck kind of horse,” Roberts said. “She could have had a lot of money on her card, but every time a big money race came up she had some horrible things happen to her. She’s a sound horse and tries so hard every time. She only has 23 lifetime starts and has only finished out of the money three times.
“She raced very well last week in the Open at Yonkers after shipping that week and not being trained,” he continued. “She was a very good fourth after she came first up. Cat Manzi said he liked her, so hopefully we will do some good in the Matchmaker. I’m not sure if we can beat some of these really well seasoned half-mile track mares, but this one tries so hard every time that we will take a chance and see what happens.”
At some juncture, Doc’s Hope will return to Ontario for several series appearances and Roberts hopes her luck will continue to remain good.
“They have kind of cut back on the late closers at the Meadowlands, so it makes it a bit tougher to find a spot for her other than racing her in overnights every week, but we did pay her in to the Roses Are Red and the Milton up in Toronto,” he said. “I’m excited to see what she does this year at four and just know she would have made a lot more money if all these things hadn’t happened to her.”