Killer Ability Marks Race-Record Win in Year-End Hopeful Stakes

Killer Ability wins this year’s Hopeful Stakes at Nakayama.

KILLER ABILITY winning the Hopeful Stakes at Nakayama in Japan.
KILLER ABILITY winning the Hopeful Stakes at Nakayama in Japan. Picture: Japan Racing Association

Second favorite Killer Ability romped to a convincing victory in record breaking time to capture his second win in this year's Hopeful Stakes, stamping his name on the list of most prominent candidates for next season's Triple Crown classics. After turning in a fifth in his debut start (1,800m) in June, the Deep Impact colt displayed a strong seven-length win in his following start (2,000m) 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.

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. 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," commented jockey Takeshi Yokoyama after the race.

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


Japan Racing Association



Nakayama

Tuesday, 28th December 2021

11
15:25
(local)

THE HOPEFUL STAKES (G1)

Age: 2yo Type: OPEN
JPY ¥135,500,000
2000m TURF GOOD
11
15:25
(local)
JPY ¥135,500,000
2000m GOOD

THE HOPEFUL STAKES (G1)

Age: 2yo Type: OPEN
FP Silk Horse, Age & Sex
Sire & Dam
Jockey
Trainer
SP
WT
1st 5. KILLER ABILITY (JPN) 2yo C
DEEP IMPACT (JPN) - KILLER GRACES (USA)
TAKESHI YOKOYAMA
TAKASHI SAITO
$3.10
55.0kg
Carrot Farm Co. Ltd.
2nd 8. JUSTIN PALACE (JPN) 2yo C
DEEP IMPACT (JPN) - PALACE RUMOR (USA)
CRISTIAN DEMURO
HARUKI SUGIYAMA
$8.80
55.0kg
Masahiro Miki
3rd 3. LAGULF (JPN) 2yo C
MAURICE (JPN) - ABANDONNE (JPN)
KYOSUKE MARUTA
Y MUNAKATA
$29.80
55.0kg
Takashi Muraki
4th 13. FIDELE (JPN) 2yo C
HEART'S CRY (JPN) - LUCKY TO BE ME (USA)
Y KAWADA
Y TOMOMICHI
$22.40
55.0kg
5th 9. BORN THIS WAY (JPN) 2yo C
HEART'S CRY (JPN) - WINDHUK (GER)
SHU ISHIBASHI
K MAKI
$39.20
55.0kg
6th 10. MATENRO LEO (JPN) 2yo C
HEART'S CRY (JPN) - SARATOGA VENUS (JPN)
N YOKOYAMA
M KON
$34.40
55.0kg
7th 2. ACHERNAR STAR (JPN) 2yo C
TOSEN RA (JPN) - PALILLOS (JPN)
DAICHI SHIBATA
HIROO SHIMIZU
$85.50
55.0kg
8th 1. SHELBY'S EYE (JPN) 2yo C
HARBINGER (GB) - PONTO MAIKO (JPN)
DAISAKU MATSUDA
HIDENORI TAKE
$153.70
55.0kg
9th 4. GRAND LINE (JPN) 2yo C
DURAMENTE (JPN) - GRAND CHARME (JPN)
KOSEI MIURA
N TAKAGI
$80.90
55.0kg
10th 15. ASK WILD MORE (JPN) 2yo C
KIZUNA (JPN) - LA SELECCION (JPN)
YUTAKA TAKE
H FUJIWARA
$15.10
55.0kg
11th 12. ONYANKOPON (JPN) 2yo C
EISHIN FLASH (JPN) - CHARIOT D'OR (JPN)
AKIRA SUGAWARA
S KOJIMA
$17.30
55.0kg
12th 6. COMMAND LINE (JPN) 2yo C
DEEP IMPACT (JPN) - CONDO COMMANDO (USA)
C P LEMAIRE
SAKAE KUNIEDA
$2.90
55.0kg
13th 7. SATONO HELIOS (JPN) 2yo C
EPIPHANEIA (JPN) - AIR MAGDALENE (JPN)
MIRAI IWATA
Y TOMOMICHI
$7.70
55.0kg
14th 11. CROWNED MAGIC (JPN) 2yo C
EPIPHANEIA (JPN) - CROWNED JACK (JPN)
Y IWATA
T KAYO
$243.40
55.0kg
15th 14. TYLER TESORO (JPN) 2yo C
GOLD SHIP (JPN) - KNOW (USA)
H UCHIDA
TORU KURITA
$176.60
55.0kg