If weights are any indication, the Sept. 18 Jerome Handicap (gr. II) for 3-year-olds at Belmont Park figures to be wide open. The weights for the $150,000 guaranteed mile event range from 112 to 116 pounds in the field of seven.
Ice Wynnd Fire, Teton Forest, and West Virginia were assigned the high weight. Ice Wynnd Fire, who boasts a six-furlong win at Belmont in June, finished a good third in the Aug. 28 King's Bishop Stakes (gr. I) at Saratoga in his last outing.
"He ran good going seven-eighths at Saratoga, so I think a mile will be OK for him," said trainer Bobby Frankel, who also will saddle Coded Warning in the race. "We changed his style a little bit, trying to get him to come off the pace."
Teton Forest hasn't run since beaten a head in the June 5 Riva Ridge Breeders' Cup Stakes (gr. II) at seven furlongs at Belmont. West Virginia, who won a New York restricted stakes at the Jerome distance in April, and will be cutting back from the 1 1/8 miles of the restricted Albany Stakes, a race he won Aug. 25 at Saratoga in his last start.
In addition to Coded Warning, who won at nine furlongs at Belmont in June, the Jerome also attracted Sir Oscar, who won five Florida restricted stakes as a 2-year-old, but is winless this year; Saratoga County, winner of the mile Gotham Stakes (gr. III) in the spring who was beaten 10 3/4 lengths in the King's Bishop; and Mahzouz, winner of two straight at Belmont this summer.
Jerome Handicap (gr. II), Race 9, Post Time 5:12
Post Horse Weight Jockey
1 Coded Warning 113 Javier Castellano
2 West Virginia 116 Corey Nakatani
3 Saratoga County 115 Cornelio Velasquez
4 Sir Oscar 113 Jose Ferrer
5 Mahzouz 112 Pablo Fragoso
6 Teton Forest 116 Shaun Bridgmohan
7 Ice Wynnd Fire 116 Edgar Prado