11/27/2016 6:46PM

Term of Art prevails in off-the-turf DeMille Stakes

Benoit & Associates
Term of Art, ridden by Joe Talamo, wins the Cecil B. DeMille Stakes by 1 1/4 lengths Sunday.

DEL MAR, Calif. – Moving the Cecil B. DeMille Stakes from the turf to the dirt puts its Grade 3 ranking in jeopardy for this year and caused two horses who had exclusively raced on turf to be scratched, but it was perfect for Term of Art, who had never run on turf and used his dirt experience to his advantage to rally for the win Sunday at Del Mar.

Term of Art ($15.80) had made four prior starts on dirt, most recently in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile, in which he finished ninth. The DeMille, at one mile, was a much easier spot, and he closed from sixth in the seven-horse field to beat 12-1 Vending Machine by 1 1/4 lengths.

Sword Fighter, the 8-5 favorite, was another three-quarters of a length back in third, then came Curly’s Waterfront, Hootie, Popular Kid, and Ky. Colonel.

Conscripted and Offshore both were scratched earlier in the day after the race was moved from the turf to the main track owing to rain that began Saturday and lasted on and off into Sunday morning.

Over a track rated “good” that was obviously very demanding, Term of Art needed 1:41.69 to complete one lap of the track under jockey Joe Talamo.

“I think the more he runs, the better he’ll be,” Talamo said. “He needs to put it together mentally.

“You have to keep riding him. He’s not one you want to give up on. He feels like the kind that can go a mile and a quarter. It’s just a matter of him putting all that talent together.”

Term of Art, a son of Tiznow whom Doug O’Neill trains for Calumet Farm, came into the DeMille having won once in four starts, that victory against maidens at Santa Anita in October. He earned $60,000 on Sunday from a gross purse of $100,690.

The DeMille, for 2-year-olds, was formerly known as the Generous when it was run at Hollywood Park. It is a Grade 3 race, but because it was switched to the main track, it goes into the books, for now, moved down a peg to be a listed stakes race. It is up to the graded stakes committee to review the race and decide if the Grade 3 status should be reinstated for this running.