The Rome turf course will play host to 13 three year olds for this year’s running of the Italian Derby, a Grade 1 event to be ran on Saturday, May 12th at 3 pm EST. The race will be contested over the distance of 11 furlongs or 1 mile and three eighths. The field will consist of 9 colts, 4 geldings and unfortunately no fillies. A truly international group will hit the starting gate; with 4 from Australia, 2 each from Japan, South Africa and Ireland, with 1 apiece from England, Saudi Arabia, and Kentucky. We have 3 breeders with 2 runners in the race; mtk76, lightng99, and oldmoonfarms have all decided on a double order of Italian. A quick reminder to all the connections to stop by the fountain out front and drop a Lira in the fountain for good luck. At the end of the race who will be able to stand in victory circle and do their best Julius Caesar impersonation; VINI, VIDI, VICI.
THE POST PARADE;
1- ANOTHER BIG HIT (6-1) mtk76 M. Kelly
Japanese bred son of DEEP IMPACT out of the GIANT’S CAUSEWAY mare THE BIGGEST HIT has never been off the board in 7 starts (2-5-0). Has one graded start, last trip out in the G2 “No Allies” running second while posting a 98 SP in his longest race at 10.5 f. This closer has drawn the rail so please do not count him out of this one.
2- LAW OF THE JUNGLE (7-1) waremblem5 M. Kiprusoff
Australian bred son of ANIMAL KINGDOM out of the STORM CAT mare BRETT ASHLEY has made only 1 prior turf start, last time out in the ” K Wad Turf Route” finishing third with a 102 SP. Has not won since breaking his maiden in August. Has not ran longer than 9 f. A Closer with an outside shot to get on the board.
3- SAYER N RUN (13-1) lightng99 J. Ledwith
South African bred son of THE ASSAYER (SAF) out of the DANCE IN THE DARK mare DANCE N RAT. His last 3 starts have all been G3′s, winning last time out in the “Manatee Classic” over 10 f putting up a 97 SP over a good turf. Also had a third two races back over a yielding turf. This Cloers best chance may be if we get an off turf.
4- KLASSIC BREAD (15-1) lightng99 T. Ace
Australian bred son of SNITZEL out of the KING KAMEHAMEA mare CRACKLIN BREAD is the only horse in the field that has covered the distance, going 12 f last time out in the G1 “Sydney Derby” running third with a 93 SP. Had only career win the race before that. Had 5 graded starts as a juvenile without any success. The Closer is hoping to keep recent form trend going.
5- PRESS START (14-1) ladofmanor D. Givins
Australian bred son of ADELAIDE (IRE) out of the DUBAWI (IRE) mare TRANSFIGURATIONS has only 5 career races and one of them was on the dirt, all of which have come in Germany. Made a nice SP jump to 97 in winning Gate to Wire in a NW2L allowance last outing. Has never went past 9.5 f. Has a win and a second over off turfs. This front runner may not have enough to hold of these closers.
6- TETE EPITAPH (13-1) sabbath R. Gibson
Japanese bred son of HEART’S CRY (JPN) out of the SADLER’S WELLS mare SADDLE TETECATE has hit the board in 5 of 6 starts but only his maiden victory. Will be making Graded stakes debut and has never went past 9.5 panels. Had his best SP of 96 running second in an allowance. Front runner that will have his hooves full with this field.
7- MAJESTIC CASINO (21-1) oldmoonfarms J. Benisz
Saudi Arabian bred son of CASINO HOST out of the MAJESTIC WARRIOR mare MAJESTIC TWOSOME will be making his first start in a stakes at any level. Has a win & a pair of seconds in his 3 starts this year since being gelded. Broke maiden in February with a 95 SP but has not went longer than 9.5 f. Closer that is trending in the right direction but does he have enough speed in this group.
8- HORNED PREDATOR (7-1) redhill K. Ledwith
English bred son of GOLDEN HORN (GB) out of the DANSILI (GB) mare OLD MAN DAN has 3 victories and has been in the money in 8 out of 9 lifetime starts. Last time out got an SP bump to 106 running 2nd in the G2 “South African Classic”. Has 5 previous graded starts and has not went past 9 f but I like this front runner’s chances in this one.
9- IMBRAGATO (12-1) pisanof Z. Gootee
Irish bred son of IVAWOOD out of the GREEN DESERT mare GREEN LIVE. n his last outing went 10 f in the G1 “Japanese 2000 Guineas” finishing 11th after only a 2 week break. Before that put up a 95 SP in a listed stakes and has 2 career wins. Has made 3 graded starts but never better than 7th. This Closer probably does not have enough to get it done here.
10- FLOATING MOON (13-1) oldmoonfarms G. Moss
South African bred son of NOBLE TUNE out of the PHILANTHROPIST mare FLOATING LIGHTS has never missed the board in 9 career races (3-3-3) and has two 2nd’s and a third in 3 races since being gelded all in listed stakes. Last time out ran a 96 SP in a listed stakes, but has never been over a Mile in any start. If this Closer can handle the added distance he could factor in here.
11- MEJI JINGU (5-1) super1 F. Gossett
Irish bred son of TEOFILO out of the STREET CRY mare IN THE AIR comes in here on a 2 race winning streak and has never missed the board in 7 races (3-3-1). The latest was a win by a head with a 107 SP in the G2 “South African Classic”. The other was in the “Mario Bar Turf Route”. The only knock against the ML favorite is having never gone longer than 9 f, but I believe this Closer will be in the mix at the wire.
12- GETTIN’HITCHED LV (7-1) bizalls L. Radzinski
Australian bred son of HINCHINBROOK (AUS) out of the SEATTLE SLEW mare MISS JACK has raced entire career as a gelding and has 4 wins in 9 races. Last time out in only Graded start finished 6th in the G2 “South African Classic”. Last win was in December with a 101 SP in a listed stakes and longest race has been 9 f. This Closer has a chance to be involved late.
13- SKIMMING THE RAIL (6-1) mtk76 MJ Kelly
Kentucky bred son of COMPETITIVE EDGE out of the TRIPPI mare TRIP THE RAIL draws the outside post and has made only 2 turf races in his career, but was 2nd last outing in a listed stakes with a 107 SP and won first try on the grass. Only American horse but has not gone more than 9 f. Closer is hoping the speed trend continues and I think he has a chance in this one.
The Handicapper could not choose a clear favorite as the shortest odds are 5-1 and the longest are at 21-1, meaning that this one could be a wide open affair. So I will be hard pressed to make any choices here. But I will offer my betting choice for this race.
My play here is going to be a 4 horse Trifecta box; 8- Horned Predator, 10- Floating Moon, 11- Meiji Jingu, and 13- Skimming The Rail.