Gone are the days, apparently, when everyone wants a chance to win a Grade 1 with a two-year-old before the Saratoga meeting ends. But todays Hopeful Stakes at seven furlongs has drawn a field of four.

The two big horses in here are the accomplished Readys Image (4-5) and the talented, over-hyped Maimonides (7-5), from the hottest juvenile barn in Saratoga, Bob Bafferts. Fans of Readys Image should be happy for the hype, which might make Readys Image playable. If youre into short prices, that is. Because thats where the conversation about the two big two-year-olds end. Frankly, there is no comparison, at least not yet.

Readys Image notwithstanding, the other three Hopeful entrants are eligible for preliminary allowances. If this were a conditioned race, the early line choice would be eligible for non-winners of three races other than maiden or claiming.

But thats not the only instance where comparisons are specious. In terms of performances figures, Readys Image is the fastest horse, and its not even close. Two-for-two since adding blinkers, hes a Grade 2 winner of the track and his outside draw will allow Johnny Velazquez to keep Maimonides in his sights all the way. Hell probably be sitting right off his right hip.

Have to take Readys Image to win and will gladly take 1-2 or more. For those uninterested in that prop, a cold exacta with Maimonides would be in order.

Running Totals: (96) 38-22-11. Dollar Return: $225.00 [win selections only]