The Jimmy Takter-trained colt by Muscle Hill from the Credit Winner mare Cocktail Hour settled into fourth as Southern Cross trotted the first quarter in :28.1. After a :57.2 half, Bar Hopping tipped first over and rushed alongside Southern Cross and took the lead heading into the far turn. He kicked away at three-quarters in 1:25.1 and remained in front as Waitlifter K chased him home in second. Muscle Hustle, Winter Harbor, and Love Matters also qualified for the final. Driven by Tim Tetrick, Bar Hopping won his eighth race in 25 starts, earning $913,033 for owners Christina Takter, Hatfield Stables, Marvin Katz, and Al Libfeld. He paid $2.60.
“I thought this was a magnificent mile for him,” Jimmy Takter said. “You look at all the times here tonight, and everybody understands the wind is very hard in the stretch and it’s freaking freezing. He’s just learning how to race and has a lack of confidence, but one day he’ll get it.”