This Saturday at South Africa, a one-mile turf race called The Grade 1 Weedy Establishment Stakes will feature a full field of highly-talented older distaff runners, including the two who thrilled race fans with a one-two “blanket finish” in the Equinics race known as the “Turning Japanese”, named after a Sim HOF member horse (No, not what ya might think).
In all, seven of the fourteen runners here have those coveted graded-stakes champ star badges next to their names, and most of the rest are grade-placed.
The turf course is expected to be fast for this 8-furlong contest, one which could even have some input in end-of-year awards.
Let’s have a look at this fine field:
SHARED BARB’S SODA (16-1), racing for babastable of Jakematt’s 125-stable racing group, has been fed a steady diet of minor stakes races since her maiden win, winning two of eleven at the level. The 4yo Pivotal filly comes here off an impressive mile win in one of these at Belgium, earning a lifetime-best 112 speed fig. That number puts her in the hunt for a minor prize here, and another similar bump up could have her fighting for top prize.
TURF FACTOR (15-1) has picked things up nicely for haack12 since she turned 4, and finished a fast-closing 3rd at 17-1 in the Grade 2 Blood Bond Stakes at New Zealand, her graded-stakes debut. The Muhaarar filly, representing the vaunted Haack stable group, is one of several up-and-comer types in here with a chance to make some noise on her best effort.
IBN GALILEO (19-1) has tried graded company in the past and closed fairly well in most of those tries for jastables5, but only has one placing to show for it, early last year in the Grade 2 Regina Elena. The Jastables runner, a 4yo filly by Galileo, appears to be in a bit over her head here.
VT INVINCIBLE (10-1) races for stormcat55 of the powerful Foxon stables group, one whose 14 stables are winning at a ridiculous 27% clip. All this 4yo Invincible Spirit filly did last time out was pull off a 20-1 upset in the above-mentioned Equinics race at this distance, beating today’s favorite by a head in a thriller. Just before that, this filly finished 2nd to the same runner; an Affirmed v. Alydar-type rivalry appears to be brewing…
MUTANT POWERS (5-1) won the Grade 1 Last Woman stakes last fall and has picked up just over $1 million, and what’s worse is all of us Sim players had two chances to claim this English Channel mare away from sicko of the Foxon stable group. Yup, she was on the claiming block for $150k in two early-career races. Last time she was seen on the track, she ran a decent 6th to VT INVINCIBLE in that Equinics race a few months ago. Both have been on the sidelines since, a longish break from the races.
FASTNET FIASCO (10-1) is a 5yo Fastnet Rock mare racing for the Chevrolet stable, claimed for $10k just five races ago. She has found her way up to the graded-stakes level relatively late in life, and has been competitive in these ranks without getting a win. Like many in here she finishes with a rush at this distance, but she may be unable to stick with some of the other big finishers in this one.
KING OF SILENCE LV (12-1), carrying the colors of the Bizalls racing group, has spent nearly her entire career facing stakes company, winning the Grade 1 French 1000 Guineas and a pair of Grade 2′s last year. 2018 hasn’t been quite so good for this 4yo Animal Kingdom filly, but that 113 she ran last time out may have tipped us that she was rounding back into top form.
DARK HOOKEM UP (11-1) is a French-bred 5yo Siyouni mare whose best effort of 2018 put her in 4th behind today’s favorite in that Equinics race. She runs for wyndaway27 of the huge (312 stables, yikes!) Lightng99 stable group, and it appears 2017 was a better year for her and that she’s in a bit deep in this spot.
TORAMBO (9-2) got nipped at the wire by VT INVINCIBLE in that Equinics race that appears to be such a key here, but unlike other top runners from that race she has raced since. That minor stakes race went very poorly, but it’s possible pjlracing at MREnforcer Stables was just using that run as a sharpener. The 5yo Toronado mare has an impressive six graded-stakes wins to her name, including the 2017 renewal of this race. Obviously a major contender.
LOLLY LANE (8-1), carrying lukester01‘s MasterM colors, has two consecutive strong wins coming into this, the last being the Grade 3 Park Place Express. Both wins were at the flat mile, which appears to be her best. The 6yo Bernardini mare’s bloodlines seem dirt-oriented, but she clearly does her best work on the grass and could be a tough one here.
CALLE D’ORO (11-1) is a 4yo daughter of Medaglia D’Oro who has only tried graded company once before, a late-fade 7th in last summer’s Germany 1000 Guineas. Racing for the Mtk76 stable group, she has improved greatly since while sticking with allowance and minor-stakes company. She’s faster, but still has a tendancy to fade; I wonder if she might be better if she ever tries sprinting… Certainly will be a pace factor here.
FANNY CROSBY (17-1) has raced strongly in her last four, all at or near today’s distance. Trained by freedominc of the Tamure stable group, this 4yo Redoute’s Choice filly could have a solid future, but she’ll need to get “growed up” right quick in order to contend here.
HARLEM’S VOICE (12-1) finished a strong 2nd in the Grade 2 Turf Queen stakes last time out, throwing down a number that shows she might be able to deal with these on her best day. Might just be an up-and-coming star for conquestor of the Davarto Racing group.
FINKE BERYLLIUM (11-1) wired a solid field in the Grade 2 Blood Blond Stakes last time out and is another 4yo filly that appears to be on the upswing. The Variety Club filly races for bredtosell of the Tulloch stable group and has speed to burn; if she can contain a little of that for the stretch run, she could be an upsetter here.
Well, let’s spin the ol’ Wheel Of Empty Wallets here, and see what falls off…
I’ll go with VT INVINCIBLE to settle a few lengths of the two main pacesetters, then pick ‘em off in midstretch to get to the wire first.
FINKE BERYLLIUM‘s speed looks genuine, and I think she can hold off the late rush of TORAMBO and get the place spot.
TORAMBO could certainly win this, but I’ll take her for 3rd.
Good luck all!!