Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Top Candidate for Horse of the Year

Despite a heart-breaking second in the Arima Kinen for his first defeat, Deep Impact is sitting right on the top spot for the 2005 JRA Horse of the Year Award. A nearly flawless season gave him the JRA richest earner with more than 676 million yen in earnings and a record of 7-6-1-0.

The year of 2005 will be all remembered for the great performance of Deep Impact, who has seized the Triple Crown altogether with a series of impressive victories. His best run has yet to come and more improvement for next season is expected.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Heart's Cry finally gets big one

Heart’s Cry, previously having knocked on the door for winning the grade one on three occasions, finally got one when he became a hero of the Arima Kinen(g1) yesterday afternoon at JRA Nakayama. Christophe Lemaire also rode the first g1 winner in Japan. Prior to the Arima, the 26-year-old French jockey had registered the 5 seconds from 9 mounts in the Japanese grade one races.

16 runners went to the post. Lemaire sent Heart’s Cry into a surprising third slot as Tap Dance City, as expected, made the running and Osumi Haruka followed in second. While, heavy favorite Deep Impact under Yutaka Take ranked in the rear.

Before the turn at the final corner, Cosmo Bulk made a spurt. Heart’s Cry and Lincoln went after him. As the field entered the home stretch for the second time, Cosmo Bulk took the lead with Tap Dance City fading, and Heart’s Cry and Lincoln were just on the tail. On the outside, at least four lengths back, Deep Impact began to shift into the top gear.

At around 200 meters from home, Lemaire had one of the strongest rides to force Heart’s Cry into front. On behind, Deep Impact surmounted Cosmo Bulk and Lincoln, and the gap was closing by inches. Within 100 meters to go, there was only Heart’s Cry to beat, but he
was not stopping and went on to the winning post. The two separated by a half-length. The winner stopped the clock in 2 minutes 31.9 seconds having traveled over 2,500 meters on grass. Running for third was Lincoln, a 1 1/4-length behind Deep Impact. Another 1 1/4-length back, Cosmo Bulk was fourth with Coin Toss fifth.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Deep Impact early favorite in Arima

After closing Saturday betting round, Triple Crown winner Deep Impact has been installed as the early favorite for the Arima Kinen at odds of 1.5(1-2). With win tomorrow, he would become the first undefeated Arima Kinen winner in racing history and lock up the Horse of Year Award. Zenno Rob Roy, who attempts to wrap up his glorious career, was the second favorite at 6.4(27-5). Delta Blues was the 10.9(99-10) third favorite followed by Heart’s Cry at 11.7(107-10). The rest of the field was 12.0(11-1) or higher price. The post time for the Arima Kinen will be at 3:25 p.m.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Brief Arima Kinen History

The inaugural race was to be run over 2,600 meters under the name of the Nakayama Grand Prix in 1956. The Arima Kinen, named after the founder Yoriyasu Arima, was first used as the name race the following year. In 1966, the distance was shortened to 2,500 meters. Since the first run, the Arima Kinen(known as the Grand Prix) has been well-known to many as the biggest season-ending race. Arima starters are basically decided by voting from racing fans.

Arima Kinen Trend

Shocks are relatively rare. 5 favorites have visited to the winner’s circle in the last 10 years. During the same period, second and third favorites have won twice and thrice respectively. The longest priced winner in the last decade is Grass Wonder(paid 1,450yen as 4th pick) in 1998. Recent formed horses are to be fancied – eight of the last 10 winners have registered the winning record prior to the Arima. 6-year-olds or older horses have not won, while 3-year-olds and 4-year-olds have scored, respectively, five and fourth times in the last 10. 4 of the last 10 winners have won or placed in the Japan Cup on previous start prior to the Arima. Olivier Peslier having ridden the last 3 winners has the best striking record of 5-3-0-1 in the last 10 Arima runnings. In the last decade, Sunday Silence and Brian’s Time have produced the two Arima Kinen winners a piece.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Arima Kinen draws

The 50th running of the Arima Kinen
Grade One
Nakayama - 9th Race
Sunday, December 25, 2005
3-year-old and upwards
2,500-meter turf right-handed
Added money(in million yen):
1st; 180, 2nd; 72, 3rd; 45, 4th; 27, 5th; 18
Field: 16
Post time: 3:25 p.m. JST

1 1 My Sole Sound(ch h 6yo) 57kgs M.Honda
Tamamo Cross - Cheers Sumire, by Sunday Silence
T: Katsuichi Nishiura
O: Kiyoshi Sano
B: Nagata Farm
Exclusively raced at grade class, but has been out of form since he won the Hanshin Daishoten(g2) earlier this season; no factor on his latest run in the Japan Cup where he remained in the rear for a disappointing finish; needs to drastically improve the form.

1 2 Sunrise Pegasus(ch h 7yo) 57kgs M.Ebina
Sunday Silence - Higashi Brian, by Brian's Time
Sei Ishizaka
Takao Matsuoka
Yanagawa Bokujo
Got a couple of g2 victories this season, but has yet to impact on g1 evetn so far; unplaced in the Tenno Sho Autumn before finishing 6th in the Japan Cup on his latest effort; attempts to bounce back.

2 3 Zenno Rob Roy(db h 5yo) 57kgs K.Desormeaux
Sunday Silence - Roamin Rachel, by Mining
Kazuo Fujisawa
Shinobu Oosako
Shiraoi Farm
2004 champion horse with multiple g1 victories, including the Japan Cup and Arima Kinen last year, but he seemed to find one or two rival(s) in front at the line this season so far, resulting into winless in 4 starts; beaten but only less than 2-length last time out when he finished 3rd in the Japan Cup; this could be his final appearance on the course before going to stud; his connections and supporters hope him to round off his glorious career with victory; Desormeaux returns to take the mount, breaking from the gate 3.

2 4 Cosmo Bulk(b c 4yo) 57kgs F.Igarashi
Zagreb - Iseno Tosho, by Tosho Boy
Kazunori Tabe
Misako Okada
Kano Bokujo
NAR-trained horse who has frequently raced at JRA since he was two; disappointed this season so far, including unplaced finish in the Japan Cup last outing; traner Tabe names NAR jockey Igarashi to handle the colt for the comeback.

3 5 Suzuka Mambo(b c 4yo) 57kgs K.Ando
Sunday Silence - Spring Mambo, by Kingmambo
Mitsuru Hashida
Keiji Nagai
Grand Stud
Performed well earlier this season with Tenno Sho Spring victory, but returned to fall campaign with disappointing results in 2 starts; missed hitting the board in the Japan Cup last time out; needs to recapture the good form for competitiveness.

3 6 Deep Impact(b c 3yo) 55kgs Y.Take
Sunday Silence - Wind In Her Hair, by Alzao
Yasuo Ikee
Kaneko Makoto
Northern Farm
One of the all-time great colts, who has monopolized the 3-year-old classics this season to bring off the Triple Crown; impressive series of victories, in his latest run with Kikuka Sho victory for achievement of the feat; has plenty of time to prepare for this prestigious contest after connections' decision to skip the Japan Cup and will meet for the first time the top-rated older company; could wrap up a fabulous season with a strong late stride; Take handles the likely heavy favorite to break from post 6.

4 7 Heavenly Romance(b m 5yo) 55kgs M.Matsunaga
Sunday Silence - First Act, by Sadler's Wells
Shoji Yamamoto
North Hills Management
North Hills Management
Performed her career best 2 starts back when bested the top company in the Tenno Sho Autumn for an upset victory; failed to repeat that performance in the Japan Cup; bids to turn the table and prove that the Tenno Sho win was no fluke; equipped with blinkers.

4 8 Grass Bomber(db h 5yo) 57kgs M.Katsuura
Machiavellian - Blue Lustre, by Nureyev
Mitsuhiro Ogata
Northern Farm
Has been running well at grade level, who hit the board last 7 starts with the Fukushima Kinen(g3) victory last time out; will be tested for class to face the tougher opponents in the first start at grade one.

5 9 Tap Dance City(USA)(b h 8yo) 57kgs T.Sato
Pleasant Tap - All Dance, by Northern Dancer
Shozo Sasaki
Yushun Horse
Ech Valley Horse Farm & Swettenham Stud
Multiple grade one winner, notably best that he went to a wire-to-wire victory in the 2003 Japan Cup by a commanding 9-length; well beaten last out in the Japan Cup where he dictated the pace with extremely high; would not be a shoker when he runs up to the line; with Sato up, he will start off the gate 9, attempting to dance at front end for his final run.

5 10 Heart's Cry(b c 4yo) 57kgs C.Lemaire
Kojiro Hashiguchi
Shadai Race Horse
Shadai Farm
Previously knocked on the door for the g1 glory; recently that he got a close 2nd in the Japan Cup behind Alkaased last month; has not run well at Nakayam short stretch in the past, but his late surge will be effective with the early strong pace; Lemaire returns to ride.

6 11 Opera City(b c 4yo) 57kgs E.Nakadate
Opera House - Charme majeur, by Bavest Roman
Shozo Sasaki
Yushun Horse
Hokko Farm
Meguro Kinen winner, who will turn back to a longer distance after well-beaten in the Keihan Hai one month ago; the extended distance will suit him and the will fit him when his stamina comes into play.

6 12 Big Gold(b h 7yo) 57kgs Y.Shibata
Brian's Time - Beautiful Gold, by Mr.Prospector
Tadashi Nakao
Yugengaisha Big
Shimokobe Farm
Front-running type who did well earlier this season with a couple of wins at lower level and 2nd in the Tenno Sho Spring; failed to get a desired result last time one when disappointing in the Japan Cup, but could produce a surprise under given conditions.

7 13 Coin Toss(db h 7) 57kgs H.Kitamura
Sunday Silence - Re Toss, by Egg Toss
Kazuo Fujisawa
Hiroyoshi Usuda
Shadai Farm
Occasionally made the frame, but has yet to score at grade class; came here with 6th in the Naruo Kinen and would appreciate the added distance; will be the 3rd running in the Arima - 3rd in 2002 and 15th in 2004.

7 14 Lincoln(b h 5yo) 57kgs N.Yokoyama
Sunday Silence - Grace Admire, by Tony Bin
Hidetaka Otonashi
Kideko Kondo
Northern Farm
2nd in this event two seasons ago, who runs well at longer distance; showed an encouraging run last outing when a less-than 2-length 4th in the Japan Cup last month; looks like a one-paced runner; the race fits him if everything goes right for him.

8 15 Delta Blues(b c 4yo) 57kgs O.Peslier
Dance in the Dark - Dixie Splash, by Dixieland Band
Katsuhiko Sumii
Sunday Racing Co.
Northern Farm
Kikuka Sho winner last year, who comes into the race on a high note with picking up the Stayers Stakes victory earlier this month; his stamina is really guaranteed and will bid to finish better than last year(5th in 2004); Peslier returns to ride him for the possible best performance.

8 16 Osumi Haruka(b m 5yo) 55kgs S.Kawashima
Fusaichi Concorde - Hokko Oka, by Lindo Shaver
Masatoshi Ando
Hidenori Yamaji
Keiichi Samekawa
Decent front runner in female division, coming from a half-length 2nd in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup on Nov.13; could be a tough assignment in the presence of strong front runners.

Friday, December 16, 2005

2005 Arima Kinen

The Arima Kinen known as the Grand Prix Race will be held Sunday, December 25 at Nakayama Racecourse. The year-ending big race is also called the Dream Race for racing fans, since the starters for the 2,500-meter turf will be basically determined by public voting. 19 runners, headed by Triple Crown winner Deep Impact, are on the nomination list for this year's Arima.

The finalized top 10 standing by public voting are:
Deep Impact
Zenno Rob Roy
Tap Dance City
Sweep Tosho
Heart's Cry
Admire Japan
Admire Groove
Heavenly Romance
Dance in the Mood

Monday, December 12, 2005

Richard wins Asahi Hai

Fusaichi Richard probably locks up the Best 2-year-old Colt Award in winning the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes(g1) under Yuichi Fukunaga yesterday afternoon at Nakayama Racecourse. Fukunaga allowed his colt to chase the pace, and then made headway right after turning into the stretch, going on to winning the 1,600 meters in 1 minute 33.7 seconds. Before a neck victory, the winning colt had to deny a desperate challenge from Super Hornet, who came with an impressive late surge under Uchida. Running third was favorite Jalisco Light(USA), finishing a 1 3/4-length behind the runner-up and a 1 1/2-length before Shonan Tachyon.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Jalisco Light is favorite in Asahi

As of Saturday, JALISCO LIGHT(USA) has been installed as the 2.4(7-5) favorite for the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes for 2-year-olds on Sunday at Nakayama Racecourse. FUSAICHI RICHARD was the second favorite at 3.4(12-5) followed by SHONAN TACHYON 3.9(29-10). The rest of the field was 10.0(9-1) or higher price. SUROKU HIGHNESS was scratched from the grade one event, reducing the field to 15.

Friday, December 09, 2005

Three Talented Juveniles meet in Asahi

JALISCO LIGHT, FUSAICHI RICHARD and SHONAN TACHYON meet for the first time on Sunday in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes(g1), a biggest race for 2-year-olds.

JALISCO LIGHT, regarded as one of the talented colts from leading trainer Fujisawa’s barn, enters the Futurity S off a 2 1/2-length victory in the Icho Stakes at Tokyo on October 22. The undefeated colt by Fantastic Light has galloped well for this engagement and could be the one to beat. Kent Desormeaux teams up with the colt for the first time, breaking from post 7.

FUSAICHI RICHARD, a front running type who has registered three wins, including the Tokyo Sports Hai Nisai Stakes(g3) on his latest effort, in four starts, cuts back to the mile distance, a trip which he has yet to run. Like his previous races, it is likely that he dances at the front end for the productive result. Trainer Kunihide Matsuda keeps Yuichi Fukunaga at the mount to start off from the gate no. 12.

SHONAN TACHYON, an undefeated colt in two starts, knocked off the opponents with authority last time out when he notched up a devastating 5-length victory in the Niigata Nisai Stakes(g3) at Niigata on September 4. A three-month layoff could be a negative factor but a late threat would give him a chance for the winning run. With regular rider Katsuharu Tanaka up, the colt will break from post 2.

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Brief Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes History
It was in 1949 that the first run was run over 1,100 meters under the name of the Asahi Hai Sansai Stakes. The trip was lengthened to 1,200 meters in 1959. In 1962, the race was run over 1,600 meters for the first time. The name was changed to the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes in 2001. The Futurity Stakes is the biggest race for 2-year-olds and the winner could lock up the juvenile champion.

Asahi Hai Futurity S Field

The 57th running of
the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes
(Grade One)
Sunday, December 11, 2005
Nakayama Race11
2-year-old c&f
1,600 meters, turf, right-handed
Weight: colt; 55kgs, filly; 54kgs
Added money(in million yen):
1st; 60, 2nd; 24, 3rd; 15, 4th; 9, 5th; 6
Field: 16
Post time: 3:25p.m. JST

The post positions with jockeys are:
7 JASLICO LIGHT(USA) c DesormeauxK
9 DEEP AIR c IkezoeK
11 ROSONAR c KitamuraH
13 TANI OF GOLD c MatsuokaM
14 FIELD KAISER c BonillaD
15 M S WORLD c MatsunagaM

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Brief News around Japan

DELTA BLUES, warming up for a possible start in the Arima Kinen December 25, posted a head victory in the Stayers Stakes, a grade two feature for Nakayama meeting on Saturday. Under the hand of Frenchman Olivier Peslier, the 4-year-old colt closed well to gain the first prize in a final stride. His winning time for the 3,600 meters on turf was 3 minutes 47.7 seconds. ER NOVA with American jockey Kent Desormeaux in the iron produced an impressive stretch run to finish second followed by SAKURA CENTURY in the field of 11 runners for the longest-distance flat race at the grade class.

ALKAASED, recent winner of the Japan Cup, will return to Japan for the purpose of stud servicing, not racing. The group one winner in France and Japan will stand at Darley Japan.

Multiple g1 winner DURANDAL has been out of training and will stud at Shadai Stallion Station in Hayakita, Hokkaido. His glorious career ended with 8 wins in 18 starts and more than 500 million yen in earnings.

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Alluring Voice goes for 5-straight win in Juvenile Fillies

As of Saturday, ALLURING VOICE has been installed as the 2.7(17-10) favorite for the grade one Hanshin Juvenile Fillies on Sunday at Hanshin Racecourse. The French Deputy filly goes for a five-straight victory in the biggest race for 2-year-old fillies. Yutaka Take takes the mount, breaking from post 14. FUSAICHI PANDORA, impressive maiden winner, was the second favorite at 3.9(29-10), followed by KOIUTA, winner of two in 4 starts, at 9.8(44-5). The rest of the field was 10.0(9-1) or higher price.

Friday, December 02, 2005

2005 World Super Jockeys Series

The 19th World Super Jockeys Series will take place at Hanshin Racecourse on Saturday and Sunday.

Participating jockeys with based-country are in a random order as follows:

Norihiro Yokoyama JPN
Eiji Nakadate JPN
Yutaka Take JPN
Yuichi Fukunaga JPN
Shinji Fujita JPN
Yasunari Iwata JPN
Rafael Bejarano USA
Edgar Prado USA
Kieren Fallon IRE
Michael Kinane IRE
Stephane Pasquier FR
Darren Beadman AUS
Leith Innes NZ
Douglas Whyte HK

Races subjected to the Series:
12/03 2005 Golden Spur Trophy 3yo+ 1,800-meter dirt
12/03 2005 Golden Whip Trophy 3yo+ 1,600-meter turf
12/04 2005 Golden Saddle Trophy 3yo+ 1,400-meter turf
12/04 2005 Golden Boots Trophy 3yo+ 2,000-meter turf

Alluring Voice heads Hanshin Juvenile Fillies

ALLURING VOICE, winner of four in 5 starts, heads the field of eighteen 2-year-old fillies for the grade one Hanshin Juvenile Fillies on Sunday at Hanshin Racecourse. On her latest victory in the Fantasy Stakes last month, she displayed a new dimension by rallying in the stretch. Her sole loss came at July 3 on her debut race when second in the Kokura Shimba maiden. With victory for the grade one, she would lock up the juvenile filly champion. Yutaka Take returns to ride.

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Brief Juvenile Fillies History
The race was founded in 1949 to determine the 2-year-old champ in west. The Hanshin Sansai Stakes was used as the race name until 2000. Setting limits to 2-year-old fillies in 1991, the race was reborn to the juvenile filly championship. In 2001, the present name of the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies started. The initial distance was 1,200 meters before lengthening to 1,400 meters in 1960 and it was again lengthened to 1,600 meters two years later.

Field Set For Juvenile Fillies

A field of eighteen 2-year-old fillies is set for the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies(g1) on Sunday at Hanshin Racecourse. The post postions with jockeys for the 1,600-meter turf test are:

1 KOIUTA YokoyamaN
8 SHELLS LEI MatsunagaM
12 T M PRECURE KumazawaS
17 BEST STORY WatanabeK
18 ICE DOLL FujiokaY
Each stater carry 54kgs.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Japan Entries for HK Int'l Race

Japan will send four horses to the 2005 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races as follows:

Asakusa Den'en and Hat Trick for the Hong Kong Vase
Six Sense for the Hong Kong Vase
Admire Max for the Hong Kong Sprint

Asakusa Den'en is scheduled to leave Japan on December 2. For the remaining horses, it will be on December 4.