An eight horse field lines up for the Grade One Jockey’s Weapon this weekend in Italy. The mile and a half race will be run over a good turf course for a purse of $750,000. We have no three year olds in the field taking on their elders but it is a salty group with four grade one winners in the field. Interestingly of those four three are geldings. Perhaps a sign that the ultimate equipment change is having a big impact on the game. Let’s take a look at the field.
#1 Almost Terminal 7/2
Almost Terminal is a five year old gelding. He’s a scratchbred Pivotal x Mr. Prospector x Nijinsky II. You can’t get more of a classic backend than that. He was gelded after only two starts at two but didn’t really blossom until getting to run longer distances as a three year old. He is a grade one winner, having taken one down last season going a mile and a half. This year he won a grade two going that distance and was also third in a grade one. His form has been a bit iffy, he could only manage second in a local championship earlier this year and last out was third in a listed. Still he ran a 109 speed that day and he’s run up to 113s twice this year.
#2 Possible CEO 8/1
Possible CEO is a five year old scratchbred Sea The Stars x Kingmambo x Nijinsky II. He is one of three horses in the field looking for his first stakes victory in this spot and that’s going to be tough. He is a fan of the distance. His last five races have come at a mile and a half and he’s won three and been second twice although four of those races were on the dirt. His turf record shows two wins and a second from five starts but only his last race came at a distance and he won it with style, running away from the field and winning with a 108 speed. He’s a wildcard here for sure but if you think he’s finally found his niche he stands a chance.
#3 Running on Evil 2/1
Running on Evil is a five year old gelding scratchbred Frankel x Caerleon x Kris S. Oddly enough he was gelded before his first start which he did not make until May of his three year old season. By September he was running in a grade one in only his fifth start. The race was against his elders and he ran a respectable second. His biggest asset here may be that he loves an off track. Overall he has won five of seven on the off going but the bigger story is that four of those wins were in graded races (including three grade ones). Those are his only graded wins although he has run well over firm turf courses as well. Two starts back he was third in a grade one with a 118 speed so it isn’t like he needs the off going but it sure helps him.
#4 Tete Eavral 9/2
Tete Eavral is a four year old son of Heart’s Cry based on a stakes placed High Chaparral x Rock of Gibraltar hemare. He comes from the family of Tete Grand End, and Tete Barzio as well as a number of other graded and stakes winners. Tete Eavral has never run this distance before but he enters off two wins at a mile and three eighths. The first was a local championship race and the second an open listed.
He ran back to back 114 speeds in those races which tied his career best (the previous 114 came at a mile and a quarter). Can he extend his stamina one more furlong? His pedigree is a mix of stamina and speed so getting that extra distance may be a little too much for him but as he is a runner on the up his confidence may help him gut out the extra furlong.
#5 Twisted Conflict 4/1
Twisted Conflict is a four year old gelding by Lucky Pulpit out of the graded placed, stakes winning mare The Twisted Wheel. She is by Sea the Stars x Sadler’s Wells and Twisted Conflict is her second foal. Twisted Conflict is the only graded winner in the game by Lucky Pulpit who was made famous by his son California Chrome. Twisted Conflict was gelded as a three year old and dropped into two high level claimers. Trainer foxon6 was lucky not to lose his horse who made his third start off the gelding in a grade two where he finished third. It was his first start at a mile and one half and that increase in distance plus the gelding seemed to do the trick. His only grade one win came last fall in the mile and three eighths Singapore Cup against older horses. That race was run over a good turf and he won emphatically. His last race, the Grade One Expensive Jalopy saw him on a good turf course again and he finished a well beaten fourth so he may not have a consistent love of off tracks.
#6 Kooler 6/1
Kooler is a four year old son of Sea the Stars based on a Street Cry x Awesome Again hemare. The colt was good enough to finish second in a grade one early in his three year old season and run sixth in the classic Grade One Derby de English in June. He didn’t run again until a listed stakes in September where he encountered his first off track where he smashed a small field by over five lengths. Kooler changed stables after that race and due to the penalty for switching stables he did not run again until January. After a disappointing return he began to improve his standing and won the Grade One Karakuza Kinen Cup in June over a good turf course. His most recent start came in the Grade One Expensive Jalopy at this distance over a good turf course and he delivered a tour de force performance winning by nearly three lengths with a career best 117 speed.
#7 Delmar D’oro 9/1
Delmar D’oro is a four year old gelding by Medaglia D’oro out of the stakes winning Sea the Stars x Kingmambo mare Stars on Display. Stars on Display is the most successful runner from the grade one winning mare Mambo de Calle and Delmar D’oro is her first foal. He’s looking for his first stakes win in this spot but overall he’s eight for eleven in the money on the grass with five wins, four of those coming at a mile and a half. Two starts back he encountered his first good turf course and he handled it with ease, winning an allowance race by almost four lengths with a 106 speed. He followed that up with a step up to listed company where he ran a solid third, leading into the stretch before grudgingly giving way to finish third by three parts of a length. He ran a 112 speed that day, easily his career best. He has to prove that he can run with this caliber of company but clearly he is at home at this distance.
#8 Chosen Wisely 31/1
Chosen Wisely is a four year old son of Redoute’s Choice based on the grade one winning Dubawi x Kingmambo hemare The Amigo. The Amigo did his best running at a mile and one half and was especially proficient on an off ground – he won his grade one on good turf. His son has not shown quite as much promise. He only has a maiden win to his credit and that came last December. His lone start at a mile and a half resulted in a third place finish one race prior to that maiden victory. In his last start he was beaten twenty lengths in a listed. Connections must feel that the hemare’s love of the off going was passed along to Chosen Wisely but personally I’d put him on the dirt.
Good luck to all!