Pace Makes the Tokyo City Cup Stakes

Horse Racing Radar
Rich Bieglmeier
Rich Bieglmeier is a Staff writer for Horse Racing Radar
Sunday, April 18, 2021

Santa Anita has a couple of short field stakes races this Sunday. The Grade III, Tokyo City Cup Stakes sports a field of five in race three, The Grade III, Kona Gold Stakes sends four to the post in the eighth race.

Let's run down the horses in the Tokyo City Cup Stakes. It's a 1 ½ mile race on the main track with three turns. They'll start and the end of the backstretch and turn left almost immediately out of the gate.  As you might imagine, there aren't many 1 ½ miles races. So, we reviewed the last 10 Tokyo City Cup Stakes to get a sense of the running style and post(s) that might have the edge.

Probably the most interesting trend was post position. Inside two or outside two were the most common winners. Horses in the middle seemed to struggle. With only five horses in this year's field, only the TIZAMAGICIAN (PP: 3 ML 4/5) isn't on one end the two-posts barbell.

Overall, off the pace types have fared better than early speed, winning six of the last 10 without a wire-to-wire winner. A quartet of horses co-piloted most of the way around the track. Once again, that seems to work against the favorite TIZAMAGICIAN, who likes to be on/near the lead. Although, the second choice in the program, ZESTFUL (PP: 5 ML 5/2), might be the pacesetter.

MULTIPLIER (PP: 1 ML 8-1) gets to ride the rail, which has held the Tokyo City Trophy in the last two and three of the last five, but none in the five races prior to the last five. The seven-year-old could be the trailer early and will have to make a big run late to catch either speed horse. His last pace figures suggest that could be a challenge. It's possible that he starts and finishes in the back.

ROMANO (PP: 2 ML 8-1) will probably keep MULTIPLIER company in the rear, but he has a more consistent history of putting up good numbers in the final quarter-mile. However, the five-year-old gelding took forever to break his maiden, 14 tries and is taking a huge step up in competition. It's not surprising to see jockey Flavien Prat get off ROMANO and ride TIZAMAGICIAN. It tells you which horse he believes has a better chance.

TIZAMAGICIAN has a race at the distance, finishing a well beaten second in this race last year. He tried to wire the field and faded hard late. He did run the top, last race speed figure at 1 ¼ in his last race, but did back up late. He's struggled to stay on late when going past 1 1/16 miles. Pace will be the key. A modest pace for a race of this length and maybe he has the late legs to get it done. He's absolutely a vulnerable favorite based on his previous runs past 1 1/16 miles.

LURE HIM IN (PP: 4 ML 4-1) is also stepping up in class. He'll probably be in the back, but be the forward most horse of the early trio of trailers. He is probably the most likely of the last three to have a chance to run down one of the two frontrunners as he's made-up ground in eight of his last 10 starts.

That leaves ZESTFUL. The question is whether ZESTFUL or TIZAMAGICIAN takes the lead and how fast they run. There isn't a real reason for the two of them to burn each other out. None of the other three want the lead and the two favorites can run a modest pace and still get loose on the lead, which is how we believe it will go. TIZAMAGICIAN has better late pace numbers and most likely gets the job done.


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