Japan: Deep Impact Colts Go 1-2 In Year-End Hopeful Stakes – Horse Racing News

Japan: Deep Impact Colts Go 1-2 In Year-End Hopeful Stakes – Horse Racing News

Second favorite Killer Ability romped to a convincing victory in record breaking time to capture this year’s Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes on Tuesday at Nakayama, stamping his name on the list of most prominent candidates for next season’s Triple Crown classics. Both the winner and the runner-up, Justin Palace, are sired by Deep Impact (Sunday Silence).

The race got underway with Grand Line setting the pace, Born This Way sitting a few lengths behind in second, and Killer Ability on the rails another length behind that in third. As the field made their bids entering the straight, Killer Ability had switched to an outer path avoiding the frontrunners turning the last corner. As the pacesetter weakening near the rails, the brown colt stole the lead from Born This Way after the furlong marker with a second gear and crossed the line a 1-1/2-length winner.

“Sitting in the saddle in his workouts two weeks in a row convinced me that he was going to run and run fast,” commented jockey Takeshi Yokoyama. “We sat in a good position and when the colt was able to relax in the backstretch, I had all the confidence I needed that he was going to win. I’m sure he will go on to improve further and become stronger. Personally, my goal for this season was to capture a G1 title and land 100 seasonal wins—winning five G1 titles is just unbelievable and I cannot thank all the connections and the horses enough for such a wonderful season.”

After turning in a fifth in his debut start (1,800m, or nine furlongs) in June, Killer Ability displayed a strong seven-length win in his following start (2,000m, or 1 1/4 miles) in August. In his latest Hagi Stakes (Listed, 1,800m) start, Killer Ability was a neck short in second to subsequent Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes third-place finisher Danon Scorpion.

Following his latest G1 win with Chrono Genesis in the Takarazuka Kinen in June, trainer Takashi Saito has now six overall JRA-G1 titles under his belt while jockey Takeshi Yokoyama collected his fifth JRA-G1 title, his most recent being in the Arima Kinen with Efforia just two days before.

Fourth pick Justin Palace was settled in around fifth, three to four lengths behind the eventual winner. After making steady headway after the third corner, the colt picked off the runners in front one by one up to the last half furlong but proved no match to the winner while holding off the rest of the field by 1-1/4 lengths.

Eighth choice Lagulf sat behind the winner along the rails in fourth and after struggling for room in early stretch, made an inside bid alongside the runner-up but was unable to keep up while snatching third place from Born This Way in the final strides.

Race favorite and this year’s Saudi Arabia Royal Cup winner Command Line was reserved on the rails in lower mid-pack and switched to an outer path entering the straight but failed to fire, never reaching contention to finish 12th.

Other Horses:
4th: (13) Fidele—traveled in 12th, improved position with 2nd fastest late speed, belatedly
5th: (9) Born This Way—tracked leader in 2nd, inherited lead at early stretch, weakened in last 200m
6th: (10) Matenro Leo—settled around 10th, angled out, passed tired rivals
7th: (2) Achernar Star—sat 2nd from rear, showed fastest late charge, failed to threaten
8th: (1) Shelby’s Eye—hugged rails around 9th, even paced
9th: (4) Grand Line—set pace, surrendered lead at early stretch, showed tenacity until 100m out
10th: (15) Ask Wild More—unhurried in 13th, unable to reach contention
11th: (12) Onyankopon—ran outside winner around 4th, outrun after final corner
13th: (7) Satono Helios—raced around 8th, driven after 3rd corner, circled wide, showed little
14th: (11) Crowned Magic—trailed in far rear, no factor
15th: (14) Tyler Tesoro—traveled 3-wide around 5th, faded after 3rd corner