Sunday, December 23, 2007

Matsurida Gogh upsets Arima

Unplaced in the Tenno Sho Autumn on last outing, ninth pick Matsurida Gogh won the Arima Kinen by a 1 1/4-length from Daiwa Scarlet on Sunday afternoon. It was one of the biggest upsetting victories in the history of JRA racing. Third, another 2 1/2-length behind, was Daiwa Major with Roc de Cambes fourth and Pop Rock fifth. The winning rider was Masayoshi Ebina. Final time for the 2,500-meter trip was 2 minutes 33.60 seconds on good ground.

Ebina had Matsurida Gogh raced at third spot before hitting into the front going into the final stretch. Daiwa Scarlet hung on tough at second slot, but, by the time Ebina and his colt reached the last 200-meter mark, they had a clear lead, and then drew away from the rest.

Matsurida Gogh, trained by Sakae Kunieda and owned by F.Takahashi, has now won seven of his 16 races with more than 388 million yen in career earnings. Okada Stud was the breeder of the Sunday Silence 4-year-old colt out of the Bel Bolide mare Paper Rain.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Stage set for 2007 Arima Kinen

The stage is set for the Arima Kinen for which 16 horses have been entered. The post time for the 2,500-meter turf event will be at 3:25 p.m. on Sunday, December 23.
The post position order is as follows:

1 Meisho Samson 4c 57 Yutaka Take
(Opera House - My Vivien, by Dancing Brave)
2 Dream Passport 4c 57 Jun Takada
(Fuji Kiseki - Grace Land, by Tony Bin)
3 Matsurida Gogh 4c 57 Masayoshi Ebina
(Sunday Silence - Paper Rain, by Bel Bolide)
4 Daiwa Major 6h 57 Mirco Demuro
(Sunday Silence - Scarlet Bouquet, by Northern Taste)
5 Legolas 6h 57 Yoshitomi Shibata
(Sunday Silence - Carling Garde, by Royale)
6 Pop Rock 6h 57 Olivier Peslier
(Helissio - Pops, by Sunday Silence)
7 Daiwa Scarlet 3f 53 Katsumi Ando
(Agnes Tachyon - Scarlet Bouquet, by Northern Taste)
8 Roc de Cambes(NZ) 3c 53 Michael Kinane
(Red Ransom - Fairy Lights, by Fairy King)
9 Sun Zeppelin 3c 55 Hiroshi Kitamura
(Tenby - Plant Ogygian, by Ogygian)
10 Fusaichi Pandora 4f 55 Shinji Fujita
(Sunday Silence - Lotta Lace, by Nureyev)
11 Cosmo Bulk 6h 57 Masami Matsuoka
(Zagreb - Iseno Tosho, by Tosho Boy)
12 Inti Raimi 5h 57 Yuichi Fukunaga
(Special Week - Andes Lady, by Northern Taste)
13 Delta Blues 6h 57 Yuga Kawada
(Dance in the Dark - Dixie Splash, by Dixieland Band)
14 Higher Game 6h 57Christophe Lemaire
(Sunday Silence - Fanjica, by Law Society)
15 Chosan 5h 57 Norihiro Yokoyama
(Dance in the Dark - Stay Young, by Soccer Boy)
16 Vodka 3f 53 Hirofumi Shii
(Tanino Gimlet - Tanino Sister, by Rousillon)

Brief history of Arima Kinen
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.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Goshawk Ken goes all the way in Asahi Hai Futurity S

Goshawk Ken(USA) made all the running to win the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes for 2-year-olds Sunday afternoon at Nakayama. Masaki Katsuura steered the winner, completing the 1,600-meter trip in 1 minute 33.50 seconds on firm ground. Second, a 2 1/2-length behind, was Let's Go Kirishima with Captain Thule another neck back third.

Goshawk Ken, a Bernstein colt out of the Grand Slam mare Allthewaybaby, has now won 2 in 3 starts for trainer M.Saito and owner Y.Fujita. His earnings improved to more than 72 million yen. Four Horsemen's Ranch in US is the breeder of the dark bay colt.

Friday, December 07, 2007

2007 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes

The Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes field has been drawn. The main contenders of the top 2-year-old race could be Apollo Dolce(USA), Captain Thule, A Shin Forward(USA) and Suzu Jupiter.
The post time for the Nakayama 1,600-meter turf event will be at 3:25 p.m. on Sunday, December 9.

1 Goshawk Ken(USA)(by Bernstein) c 55 kgs Masaki Katsuura
2 Ceres Hunt(by Coronado's Quest) c 55 Masayoshi Ebina
3 Let's Go Kirishima(by Mejiro Ryan) c 55 Hideaki Miyuki
4 Dream Signal(byt Agnes Digital) c 55 Christophe Lemaire
5 Gingei(by New England) c 55 Hiroshi Kitamura
6 Win Trigger(by Star of Cozzene) c 55 Hirofumi Shii
7 Captain Thule(by Agnes Tachyon) c 55 Yuga Kawada
8 Fortune Word(by Dehere) f 54 Masami Matsuoka
9 Suzu Jupiter(by Tanino Gimlet) c 55 Yoshitomi Shibata
10 A Shin Forward(USA)(by Forest Wildcat) c 55 Yuichi Fukunaga
11 Yamanin Kingly(by Agnes Digital) c 55 Yutaka Take
12 Million Wave(by Fuji Kiseki) c 55 Futoshi Komaki
13 Smart Gang(by Grass Wonder) c 55 Yasunari Iwata
14 Apollo Dolce(USA)(by Officer) c 55 Hiroki Goto
15 Dream Gardener(by Twining) c 55 Hayato Yoshida
8 16 Subject(by Fuji Kiseki) c 55 Katsumi Ando

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Toll Poppy produces good stride in Juvenile Fillies

Toll Poppy, ridden by Kenichi Ikezoe, produced a superb late stride to win the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies(g1) Sunday afternoon at Hanshin Racecourse. In the 1,600-meter top 2-year-old filly race, the Jungle Pocket filly gained the neck victory from Reve d'Amour, getting home in 1 minute 33.80 seconds on firm ground.

Toll Poppy, out of the Sunday Silence mare Admire Sunday, has now won 2 in 4 starts with 2 seconds and more than 73 million yen in earnings. Bred by Northern Farm, the bay filly is owned by Carrot Farm. Her trainer Katsuhiko Sumii gained the second Juvenile Fillies victory in two years following last year with Vodka.

Friday, November 30, 2007

2007 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies

Sunday sees the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies for which a maximum field of 18 was set. The post time for the 1,600-meter top race for 2-year-old fillies at Hanshin will be at 3:40 p.m. JST. The field is as follows:

1 Valiant Lady(War Emblem) Ryuji Wada
2 Trust Purple(Meiner Love) Katsuharu Tanaka
3 Reginetta(French Deputy) Yutaka Take
4 Aroma Candle(French Deputy) Shinji Fujita
5 Nishino Garland(Mejiro Ryan) Edgar Prado
6 Challenge(Tenby) Issei Murata
7 Meine Blitz(Paradise Creek) Yuga Kawada
8 Heart of Queen(Jolie's Halo) Jiro Ono
9 Reve d'Amour(Falbrav) Yusuke Fujioka
10 Aim at Vip(Agnes Digital) Yuichi Fukunaga
11 Odile(Kurofune) Katsumi Ando
12 Graf(Mejiro Bright) Kohei Kitamura
13 Karei Jasmine(Tayasu Tsuyoshi) Hiroshi Kitamura
14 L'Archetto(Falbrav) Stephane Pasquier
15 Tall Poppy(Jungle Pocket) Kenichi Ikezoe
16 Yamakatsu Orchid(Dance in the Dark) Douglas Whyte
17 Eishin Panther(Coronado's Quest) Yasunari Iwata
18 F T Maia(Fuji Kiseki) Masayoshi Ebina
All starters carry 54kgs.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Thrilling finish for 2007 Japan Cup; Admire Moon triumph

It will be all remembered as a magnificent finish for the Japan Cup, held today at Tokyo Racecourse. Admire Moon won by a head from Pop Rock, with another neck back Meisho Samson third and Vodka only a length away in fourth.

Surprisingly, Chosan led a parade of 18 horses with the opening 1,000 meters in 60.10 seconds. As the field entered the stretch, they bunched up and formed in a big pack.

Within 200 meters from home, the great thrill began when the four horses drew out.
Yasunari Iwata forced Admire Moon to take on the inside lane, passing Chosan and taking over. Pop Rock, ridden by Olivier Peslier, came on the middle and crept inch by inch with Yutaka Take on Meisho Samson challenging on the outside. On the further outside, Vodka, with Hirofumi Shii on her back, gained ground.

They fought for the biggest honor and purse in Japanese racing history, but the last stride carried Admire Moon remaining the front, and he held on to win the race in 2 minutes 24.70 seconds.

It was Admire Moon's first victory under the new color of Darley Japan Farm Co. Ltd. and the Hiroyoshi Matsuda-trained 4-year-old colt has now earnings of more than 1.18 billion yen with a record of 17-10-2-2. Norhtern Racing was the breeder of the bay colt by End Sweep out of the Sunday Silence mare My Katies.

Admire Moon will be retired, his owner revealed after the race.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

2007 Japan Cup preview

Meisho Samson is likely to get a lot of support for the favorite in the Japan Cup, which will award the 253+ million yen prize to the winner. The 4-year-old Opera House colt has had his fabulous campaign this year, winning 4 of his 5 races with a couple of g1 successes. His sole loss(second finish) came at the hand of Admire Moon in the Takarazuka Kinen in June.

Japanese Derby heroine Vodka, who has recovered from a minor leg problem, could produce her top game at her favored course. It would be no surprise to see that she gets up to the line for the winning affair.

Others to watch include dual g1 winner Admire Moon, Pop Rock, Inti Raimi and Dream Passport.

Vermilion wins JCD in record time

Vermilion, ridden by Yutaka Take, produced a great stretch run to win the Japan Cup Dirt(g1) at Tokyo on Saturday afternoon. Sending off the 2.3 favorite, the 5-year-old horse came home in 2 minutes 6.70 seconds for the new course record of 2,100 meters on dirt.
Field Rouge, a 1 1/4-length behind, was second place. Another 3 1/2-length back Sunrise Bacchus was third with Meisho Toko another 1 1/4-length further back in fourth.

US hope Student Council(USA), the 7.2 third favorite, finished 8th, while Jack Sullivan(USA) and Kandidate(GB) finished 12th and 15th respectively.

Outside 200 meters from home, Field Rouge drew away from the pack on the inside and was going well. But Vermilion with a great gallop was cruising up on the outside to challenge, and the gap narrowed as he made at every stride. Obviously, the stronger stride of the two was Vermillion. When Take asked him for the final effort, he just flew past Field Rouge.

Yutaka Take has now ridden the fourth Japan Cup Dirt winner, while trainer Sei Ishizaka won his second JCD victory following Alondite last year.

Vermilion, by El Condor Pasa out of the Sunday Silence mare Scarlet Lady, raced under the color of Sunday Racing Co. Ltd. with a record of 20-9-3-0. His career earnings improved to 571+ million yen. Northern Farm was the breeder of the darkbay horse.

Friday, November 23, 2007

2007 Japan Cup Dirt preview

Vermilion makes his third start of the season when he faces against 15 rivals in the Japan Cup Dirt at Tokyo on Saturday afternoon. The 5-year-old El Condor Pasa horse is coming off an impressive 4-length victory in the JBC Classic at NRA Ohi after getting a good fourth-placed finish in the Dubai World Cup in late-March. Certainly, he could be the one to keep an eye on.

The leading opponent to Vermilion will be Dragon Fire, who is in the middle of 4 winning streak with Sirius Stakes victory on his last outing. This could be a real test for the 3-year-old colt to face the top company for the first time.

The other to watch will be Student Council(USA), one of the 3 foreign entries. Having won the Pacific Classic Stakes, the 5-year-old Kingmambo horse seeks the extra prize in the Japan Cup Dirt. The victory would give him a 133+ million yen first prize plus a 100 million yen bonus.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Stage set for 2007 Japan Cup

The stage is set to run for the 2007 Japan Cup. 18 horses will go to post for the premier event at Tokyo. The post time will be at 3:20 p.m. JST on Sunday, November 25.

The 27th running of the Japan Cup
Grade One
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Tokyo Race-10, 3:20 p.m. JST
3-year-olds and upwards, international
2,400 meters, turf, left-handed
Added money(in million yen):
1st; 250, 2nd; 100, 3rd; 63, 4th; 38, 5th; 25

pp/Horse/AgeSex/Weight(in kgs)/Jockey

1/Erimo Harrier/7g/57/Koshiro Take
(Generous - Erimo Hustler, by Bravest Roman)
2/Pop Rock/6h/57/Olivier Peslier
(Helissio - Pops, by Sunday Silence)
3/Cosmo Bulk/6h/57/Masami Matsuoka
(Zagreb - Iseno, by Tosho Tosho Boy)
4/Admire Moon/4c/57/Yasunari Iwata
(End Sweep - My Katies, by Sunday Silence)
5/Chosan/5h/57/Norihiro Yokoyama
(Dance in the Dark - Stay Young, by Soccer Boy)
6/Victory/3c/55c/Christophe Lemaire
(Brian's Time - Grace Admire, by Tony Bin)
7/Papal Bull(GB)/4c/57/Ryan Moore
(Montjeu - Mialuna, by Zafonic)
8/Artiste Royal(IRE)/6h/57/Joe Talamo
(Danehill - Agathe, by Manila)
9/Inti Raimi/5h/57/Tetsuzo Sato
(Special Week - Andes Lady, by Northern Taste)
10/Meisho Samson/4c/57/Yutaka Take
(Opera House - My Vivien, by Dancing Brave)
11/Vodka/3f/53/Hirofumi Shii
(Tanino Gimlet - Tanino Sister, by Rousillon)
12/Fusaichi Pandora/4f/55/Shinji Fujita
(Sunday Silence - Lotta Lace, by Nureyev)
13/Hiraboku Royal/3c/55/Hiroki Goto
(Tanino Gimlet - Mars Violet, by Mr. Prospector)
14/Dream Passport/4c/57/Katsumi Ando
(Fuji Kiseki - Grace Land, by Tony Bin)
15/Rosenkreuz/5h/57/Yusuke Fujioka
(Sunday Silence - Rose Colour, by Shirley Heights)
16/Saddex(GB)/4c/57/Sorsten Mundry
(Sadler's Wells - Remote Romance, by Irish River)
(Cape Cross - Launch Time, by Relaunch)
18/Delta Blues/6h/57/Yuga Kawada
(Dance in the Dark - Dixie Splash, by Dixieland Band)

2007 Japan Cup Dirt

Saturday sees the 2007 Japan Cup Dirt for which 16 horses have been entered.

The 8th running of the Japan Cup Dirt
Grade One
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Tokyo Race-11, 3:20 p.m. JST
3-year-olds and upwards, international
2,100 meters, dirt, left-handed
Added money(in million yen):
1st; 130, 2nd; 52, 3rd; 33, 4th; 20, 5th; 13

1/Sunrise Bacchus/5h/57/Katsumi Ando
(Hennessy - Real Sapphire, by Real Shadai)
2/Student Council(USA)/5h/57/Richard Migliore
(Kingmambo - Class Kris, by Kris S.)
3/Kandidate(GB)/5h/57/Ryan Moore
(Kabool - Valleyrose, by Royal Academy)
4/Furioso/3c/55/Hiroyuki Uchida
(Brian's Time - Fursa, by Mr. Prospector)
5/Cafe Olympus(USA)/6h/57/Hiroki Goto
(Grand Slam - Cognac Lady, by Olympio)
6/Wild Wonder/5h/57/Yasunari Iwata
(Brian's Time - Waltz Dancer, by Sunday Silence)
7/Vermilion/5h/57/Yutaka Take
(El Condor Pasa - Scarlet Lady, by Sunday Silence)
8/Meisho Tokon/5h/57/Koshiro Take
(Mayano Top Gun - Lunar Sphere, by Jade Robbery)
9/Eishin Lombard(USA)/5h/57/Yuichi Fukunaga
(Victory Gallop - Pacific City, by Carson City)
10/Wonder Speed/5h/57/Futoshi Komaki
(King Glorious - Wonder Heritage, by Pleasant Tap)
11/Field Rouge/5h/57/Norihiro Yokoyama
(Croco Rouge - Mejiro Romer, by Lindo Shaver)
12/Dragon Fire/3c/55/Katsuharu Tanaka
(Brian's Time - Magical Woman, by Paradise Creek)
13/Blue Concorde/7h/57/Hideaki Miyuki
(Fusaichi Concorde - Ebisu Family, by Brian's Time)
14/Fusaichi Ho O/3c/55/Olivier Peslier
(Jungle Pocket - Admire Sunday, by Sunday Silence)
15/Jack Sullivan(USA)/6g/57/Edward Ahern
(Belong to Me - Provisions, by Devil's Bag)
16/Bonneville Record/5h/57/Yoshitomi Shibata
(Assatis - Daiwa Stan, by Maruzensky)

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Brief history of Japan Cup

The Japan Cup was inaugurated in 1981 as the first international race in Japan. Since then, it has been successfully run and become the most famous Japanese race in the world. There are a number of premier runners from Europe, North America and other areas to have taken part in this race.

Japan Cup past winners with winning times and riders:

2006 DEEP IMPACT(by Sunday Silence) 2:25.10 Y.Take
2005 ALKAASED(by Kingmambo) 2:22.10 L.Dettori
2004 ZENNO ROB ROY(by Sunday Silence) 2:24.20 O.Peslier
2003 TAP DANCE CITY(by Pleasant Tap) 2:28.70 T.Sato
2002 FALBRAV(by Fairy King) 2:12.20* L.Dettori
2001 JUGLE POCKET(by Tony Bin) 2:23.80 O.Peslier
2000 T.M.OPERA O(by Opera House) 2:26.10 R.Wada
1999 SPECIAL WEEK(by Sunday Silence) 2:25.50 Y.Take
1998 EL CONDOR PASA(by Kingmambo) 2:25.90 M.Ebina
1997 PILSUDSKI(by Polish Precedent) 2:25.80 M.Kinane
1996 SINGSPIEL(by In the Wings) 2:23.80 L.Dettori
1995 LANDO(by Acatenango) 2:24.60 M.Roberts
1994 MARVELOUS CROWN(by Miswaki) 2:23.60 K.Minai
1993 LEGACY WORLD(by Mogami) 2:24.40 H.Kawachi
1992 TOKAI TEI-O(by Symboli Rudolf) 2:24.60 Y.Okabe
1991 GOLDEN PHEASANT(by Caro) 2:24.70 G.Stevens
1990 BETTER LOOSEN UP(by Loosen Up) 2:23.20 M.Clarke
1989 HORLICKS(by Three Legs) 2:22.20 L.O'Sullivan
1988 PAY THE BUTLER(by Val de I'Ome) 2:25.50 C.McCarron
1987 LE GLORIEUX(by Cure the Blues) 2:24.90 A.Lequeux
1986 JUPITER ISLAND(by St.Paddy) 2:25.00 P.J.Eddery
1985 SYMBOLI RUDOLF(by Partholon) 2:28.80 Y.Okabe
1984 KATSURAGI ACE(by Boysie Boy) 2:26.30 K.Nishiura
1983 STANERRA(by Guillaume Tell) 2:27.60 B.Rouse
1982 HALF ICED(by Hatchet Man) 2:27.10 D.MacBeth
1981 MAIRZY DOATES(by Nodouble) 2:25.30 C.Asmussen
* 2,200 meters at Nakayama turf

Brief history of Japan Cup Dirt

Tokyo hosted the first international dirt event in 2000 when the inaugural Japan Cup Dirt was held at the revue. The Dirt race, one of the two JRA g1 dirt events(other is February Stakes), has since then attracted many top-class dirt runners including foreign invaders.

Japan Cup Dirt past winners with winning times and jockeys

2006 ALONDITE(by El Condor Pasa) 2:08.50 H.Goto
2005 KANE HEKILI(by Fuji Kiseki) 2:08.00 Y.Take
2004 TIME PARADOX(by Brian's Time) 2:08.70 Y.Take
2003 FLEETSTREET DANCER(USA)(by Smart Strike) 2:09.20 J.Court
2002 EAGLE CAFE(USA)(by Gulch) 1:52.20* L.Dettori
2001 KUROFUNE(USA)(by French Deputy) 2:05.90 Y.Take
2000 WING ARROW(by Assatis) 2:07.20 Y.Okabe
* 1,800 meters at Nakayama dirt

Dylan Thomas out of Japan Cup

Dylan Thomas(IRE) was out of the 2007 Japan Cup due to failing to pass one of the quarantine tests. The 4-year-old colt took the EVA test twice in quarantine inspection, but no negative result has been observed. Because of that, no entry permit was given to him according to the requirement of health regulations agreed upon between Ireland and Japan.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

2007 Japan Cup nominations

This Saturday sees the 27th running of the Japan Cup Dirt at Tokyo Racecourse. A total of 22 horses including 6 foreign invitees have been nominated for the premier race.

On the previous day, the 8th Japan Cup Dirt with a total of 26 nominations including 3 foreign invaders will run at the venue.

Both races will draw on Thursday morning.

Note that all entries(except for foreign and NAR horses) in this weekend races(Nov. 23, 24 & 25) are subject to take flu examination.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Daiwa Major gains his second Mile CS victory

3.8 favorite in a 18-strong field, Daiwa Major defended his crown in the Mile Championship(g1)when he won the 1,600-meter race Sunday afternoon at Kyoto Racecourse. The 6-year-old Sunday Silence horse beat fourth favorite Super Hornet by a neck, with another half-length back Suzuka Phoenix third. Another neck behind, four-placed finish was Agnes Ark, followed by Company. The US entry, Becrux(ITY) made a mild rally in the stretch and finished 8th.

Under the aggressive hand of Katsumi Ando, Daiwa Major tracked the early pace, just behind the front two runners, and then powered to his way into front with 200 meters to go in the process of getting home in 1 minute 32.70 seconds for the winning time. Super Hornet stormed from the outside to challenge, but was not good enough to catch the winner.

This was the fifth g1 title of Daiwa Major, who has now registered 9 wins in 27 career starts for trainer Hiroyuki Uehara and owner Keizo Oshiro. With the 103+ million yen first prize of the Mile Championship, his career earnings boosted to more than 1 billion yen. Shadai Farm in Chitose, Hokkaido was the breeder of Daiwa Major out of the Northern Taste mare Daiwa Scarlet.

Friday, November 16, 2007

2007 Mile Championship preview

Daiwa Major, last year's winner, attempts to defend his title against 17 rivlas in the Mile Championship(g1) at Kyoto on Sunday. Coming off a disappointing 9th in the Tenno Sho Autumn(g1), the 6-year-old horse could get his top game at his favored distance. Agnes Ark and Company, second and third in the Tenno Sho Autumn, could be the main oppositions to Daiwa Major. The post time for the Mile Championship will be at 3:40 p.m. JST on Sunday.

1/Koiuta/4f/55/Hayato Yoshida
2/Eishin Dover(USA)/5h/57/Christophe Lemaire
3/King's Trail/5h/57/Yasunari Iwata
4/Meiner Segal/3c/56/Hiroki Goto
5/Lohengrin/8h/57/Koshiro Take
6/Fusaichi Richard/4c/57/Olivier Peslier
7/Super Hornet/4c/57/Yusuke Fujioka
8/Daiwa Major/6h/57/Katsumi Ando
9/Company/6h/57/Yuichi Fukunaga
10/Tosho Courage/5h/57/Kenichi Ikezoe
11/Suzuka Phoenix/5h/57/Yutaka Take
12/Agnes Ark/4f/57/Shinji Fujita
13/Laurel Guerreiro/3c/56/Ryuji Wada
14/Pink Cameo/3f/54/Hirofumi Shii
15/Jolly Dance/6m/55/Yuga Kawada
16/Picaresque Coat/5h/57/Shinichiro Akiyama
17/Becrux(ITY)/5g/57/Ryan Moore
18/San Valentin/6h/57/Koichi Tsunoda

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Updated on 2007 Japan Cup invitees

Four Japan Cup invitees arrived this afternoon at Narita Airport as follows:

Dylan Thomas(IRE)
Papal Bull(GB)

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Updated on 2007 Japan Cup

16 local entries remain for the 2007 Japan Cup in the final nomination stage as follows:

Admire Moon
Meisho Samson
Pop Rock
Delta Blues
Cosmo Bulk
Fusaichi Pandora
Inti Raimi
Dream Passport
Erimo Harrier
Hiraboku Royal
Never Bouchon
Higher Game

Note that the 2007 Japan Cup Dirt has a total of 23 local entries.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Updated on 2007 Japan Cup & Japan Cup Dirt

Grand Couturier(GB) was out of the Japan Cup, while Student Council(USA), one of the Japan Cup Dirt invitees, arrived this afternoon at Narita Airport.

Monday, November 12, 2007

2007 Mile Championship

A total of 32 horses remain in the final nomination stage for the 2007 Mile Championship(g1).

Sunday, November 18, 2007
Kyoto Race-11
The 24th running of the Mile Championship
Grade one, 3-year-olds and upwards
1,600 meters, turf, right-handed

Japan sends two to HK International Races

Japan will send two horses to the 2007 Cathay Pacific Hong Kong International Races as follows:

Shadow Gate(JPN) for the HK Cup(g1)
Kongo Rikishio(IRE) for the HK Mile(g1)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Daiwa Scarlet wire-to-wire victory in QE II Cup

Daiwa Scarlet, ridden by Katsumi Ando and trained by Kunihide Matsuda, gained her third g1 success of the season when winning the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup with wire-to-wire fashion Sunday afternoon at Kyoto Racecourse.

In the absence of her archrival Vodka, Daiwa Scarlet brushed aside the top-rated runners with a splendid front-running style which gave her a 3/4-length victory for the biggest race in female division.

Fusaichi Pandora, with Christophe Lemaire sitting on her back for the first time, came up on the outside in the very final stage to challenge, but never collared the winner, finishing second, a 1 1/4-length in front of third place Sweep Tosho.

After setting the pace with the opening 1,000 meters in 60.60 seconds, Daiwa Scarlet covered the 2,200-meter trip in 2 minutes 11.90 seconds on firm ground.

Daiwa Scarlet, a 3-year-old daughter of Agnes Tachyon out of Scarlet Bouquet(by Northern Taste), has now earned 411+ million yen for K.Oshirro. Her career record improved to 8-6-2-0. Shadai Farm in Chitose, Hokkaido is the breeder of the chestnut filly.

Vodka out of QE II Cup

Vodka was out of the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup due to limping on her right rear leg.

2007JCD: 2 invitees arrive in Japan

2 foreign invitees of the 2007 Japan Cup Dirt have arrived yesterday afternoon at Narita Airport as follows:

Jack Sullivan(USA)

Saturday, November 10, 2007

2007 QE II Cup preview

The two 3-year-old fillies, Daiwa Scarlet and Vodka, look to be the major players in the field of 14 for the 2007 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup.
The two met three times this season. The first time they met was in the Tulip Sho where Vodka wore down Daiwa Scarlet by a neck. Daiwa Scarlet defeated Vodka by a 1 1/2-length in the Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas). The last time they met in the Shuka Sho, Daiwa Scarlet chased the pace to take the race in the stretch, while Vodka failed to show her top game and finished third. It could come down to a thrilling battle of Daiwa Scarlet and Vodka if they run their race, but several older females such as Sweep Tosho, Daring Heart and Asahi Rising are capable of upsetting the two top fillies.

Vodka favored in QE II Cup

On Saturday, Japanese Derby heroine Vodka has been installed as the early favorite for the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup at odds of 2.1. Dual g1 winner Daiwa Scarlet was second favorite at 3.6 followed by multiple g1 winner Sweep Tosho at 9.0.

Friday, November 09, 2007

2007 QE II Cup draws

The Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup(g1) has been drawn. A total of 14 fillies and mares will go to post for the QE II Cup at 3:40 p.m. on Sunday. Vodka drew post 3 ,while Daiwa Scarlet drew post 7. The total value of the race is 176.38 million yen with 93+ million yen for the winner.
The field with post position order for the Kyoto 2,200-meter race is:

1/Daring Heart(by Sunday Silence)/5m/56/Shinji Fujita
2/Spring Drew(by Misil)/7m/56/Yuga Kawada
3/Vodka(by Tanino Gimlet)/3f/54/Hirofumi Shii
4/Sweep Tosho(by End Sweep)/6m/56/Kenichi Ikezoe
5/Robe Decollete(USA)(by Cozzene)/3f/54/Yuichi Fukunaga
6/Admire Kiss(by Sunday Silence)/4f/56/Yasunari Iwata
7/Daiwa Scarlet(by Anges Tachyon)/3f/54/Katsumi Ando
8/Dear Chance(by Taiki Shuttle)/6m/56/Norihiro Yokoyama
9/Asahi Rising(by Royal Touch)/4f/56/Yoshitomi Shibata
10/Taiki Madeleine(by Brian's Time)/4f/56/Futoshi Komaki
11/Cosmo Marvelous(by Fuji Kiseki)/5m/56/Yutaka Yoshida
12/Fusaichi Pandora(by Sunday Silence)/4f/56/Christophe Lemaire
13/Dia de la Novia(by Sunday Silence)/5m/56/Yutaka Take
14/Kiss to Heaven(by Admire Vega)/4f/56/Hideaki Miyuki

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

2007 Japan Cup: Foreign invitees

Foreign invitees of the 2007 Japan Cup decreased to 6 after Royal Highness(GER) and Red Rocks(IRE) were withdrawn from the most-famous Japanese race. The invitees are now:

*Artiste Royal(IRE)
Grand Couturier(GB)
Papal Bull(GB)
Dylan Thomas(IRE)
[in random order]

*In traveling company with Becrux, Artiste Royal arrived at Narita airport on Tuesday and was transferred to Shirai quarantine facility. Note that Becrux will run in the Mile Championship(g1), held at Kyoto on November 18.

Fitz Flag(ARG) was out of the Japan Cup Dirt, so 3 foreigners remain on the invitation list of the dirt event as follows:

Student Council(USA)
Jack Sullivan(USA)
[in random order]

Brief history of QE II Cup

The first Queen Elizabeth II Cup was run over 2,400 meters as the 3-year-old filly championship in 1976. The Cup was run over 2,200 meters for the first time in 1996. In the same year, the race was open to the older fillies and mares and has been established as the championship for females since then.

Past 10 Winners
2006 Fusaichi Pandora
2005 Sweep Tosho
2004 Admire Groove
2003 Admire Groove
2002 Fine Motion
2001 To the Victory
2000 Phalaenopsis
1999 Mejiro Dover
1998 Mejiro Dover
1997 Erimo Chic

Monday, November 05, 2007

2007 QE II Cup nominations

A total of 17 fillies and mares including dual g1 winner Daiwa Scarlet and Japanese Derby heroine Vodka remain in the final nomination list of the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup, which is to be run this Sunday at Kyoto over 2,200 meters.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Take rides 3,000th winner

By winnning the first race on Sky Beauty at Kyoto on Saturday, Yutaka Take rode his 3,000th winner in his 14,288 mounts at JRA. It is the first jockey to reach the most winning number in JRA history. The 17-time leading jockey Take has been riding since 1987.

Friday, November 02, 2007

2007 Japan Cup: Foreign invitees

As of Thursday, the following 8 foreign runners have accepted for the invitation of the 2007 Japan Cup:

Artiste Royal(IRE)
Grand Couturier(GB)
Royal Highness(GER)
Papal Bull(GB)
Red Rocks(IRE)
Dylan Thomas(IRE)
(in random order)

The Japan Cup Dirt has 4 foreign invitees as follows:

Fitz Flag(ARG)
Student Council(USA)
Jack Sullivan(USA)
(in random order)

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Vermillion crushes the field by 4 lengths in JBC Classic

The JBC Classic(jpn-I), the richest race ever run in the NAR circuit, was won Wednesday night by Vermillion, ridden by Yutaka Take and trained at JRA Riito by Sei Ishizaka, who put up a great late stride on the main Ohi Racecourse. Final time for the 2,000-meter race was 2 minutes 4.80 seconds on fast.

Outside 200 meters from home, the race looked like the hand of NAR hope Furioso, but, out of blue, Yutaka Take-steered Vermillion came out of the crowd on the inside by splitting between horses. Vermilloin's head put into front inside 200 meters out, and yet he took the race by a decisive 4-length from Furioso with Sunrise Bucchus third and Blue Concorde fourth in the field of 16.

Following the Kawasaki Kinen earlier this season, Vermillion gained his second victory of the season and has totally registered 8 wins of his 19 career starts with almost 438 million yen in career earnings for owner Sunday Racing Co. Ltd. Northern Farm in Hayakita, Hokkaido was the breeder of the 5-year-old dark bay horse, by El Condor Pasa out of the Sunday Silence mare Scarlet Lady.

Fujino Wave is the hero in JBC Sprint

Near the finish line, Fujino Wave blew past the two JRA horses, Precise Machine and Agnes Jedi, to win the JBC Sprint at Ohi over 1,200 meters on fast track on Wednesday night. Trained at Ohi by Saburo Takahashi, Fujino Wave has become the first NAR horse to win the Sprint. His winning time was 1 minute 11.00 seconds on fast track.

The JBC Sprint was the biggest win in 26 career starts for Fujino Wave, by Black Tie Affair out of the Stop the Music mare Incurable Romantic, to have 16 wins in total with 183+ million yen in earnings.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

2007 JBC Classic at NAR Ohi

Ohi will host the richest NAR race, the JBC Classic, on Wednesday night. A total of 16 including 5 JRA horses will go to post for the 2,000-meter dirt event on the NAR Ohi main track.

Blue Concorde, trained at JRA Ritto by T.Hattori, who came off the October 8 Nanbu Hai victory at NAR Morioka , seeks his 7th dirt G1 success and could be a major player. The main oppositions to Blue Concorde will be the Feburuary Stakes(g1) winner Sunrise Bucchus and Dubai World Cup fourth-placed Vermillion. Among the NAR entries, the Japanese Dirt Derby winner Furioso will be the top candidate.

The 100 million yen check is given to the winner of the the JBC Classic. The post time will be at 8:10 p.m. JST.

Right before the JBC Classic, the JBC Spring for which 16 horses have been entered will run over 1,200 meters on the Ohi dirt track. The two JRA horses, Limitless Bid and Meisho Battler, who finsihed first and second, respectively, in the Tokyo Hai in early-October, could be the strong contenders. The post time for the JBC Sprint will be at 7:25 p.m. JST.

NAR: The National Association of Racing

Monday, October 29, 2007

Seeking the Best retires and studs in US

Seeking the Best(IRE), by Seeking the Gold out of the Summer Squall mare Mackie, has been retired from racing and goes to stud at Hill 'N' Dale Farm for the next breeding season.Under the color of K.Yoshida, the 6-year-old horse raced 22 times, winning 9 of them with more than 73 million yen in career earnings. His career was highlighted by the 2006 Musashino Stakes (g3) victory. His breeder was Britton House Stud Ltd. in Ireland.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Meisho Samson romps home in Tenno Sho

Meisho Samson romped home in the Tokyo main course to win the Tenno Sho Autumn by a 2 1/2-length from Agnes Ark with Company another neck away third. Pop Rock and Cosmo Bulk finished, respectively, fourth and fifth to complete the money earners.

The 4-year-old colt by Opera House, Meisho Samson, became the fourth horse to sweep the Tenno Shos(Spring and Autumn editions) in the same year, joining the exclusive league of Tamamo Cross, Special Week and T M Opera O.

The clock stopped in 1 minute 58.40 seconds for the winning time after making the 2,000-meter trip on good ground.

Meisho Samson sailed along with the rail at sixth place. On front, Cosmo Bulk set the pace with the opening 1,000-meter in 59.60 seconds. As the field turned for home, the room was opened up for Meisho Samson to make a clear run in the inside passage. Right after completing the uphill stretch, at around 200 meters left, Yutaka Take asked Meisho Samson for the last effort. When the jockey did so, the colt just quickened up in front.

"He broke well and we got the best position early on. He made further acceleration as I drew the whips.", Winning rider Yutaka Take said.

Meisho Samson paid 290 yen for win as favorite.

Disapointments of the traditional race were Admire Moon and Daiwa Major, who received the stretch interference, finishing sixth and ninth respectively.

Meisho Samson has now scored 9 wins in 19 career starts for trainer S.Takahashi and owner Y.Matsumoto. The first prize of 135+ million yen for the Tenno Sho Autumn brought his career earnings to 894+ million yen. K.Hayashi is the breeder of the bay colt out of the Dancing Brave mare My Vivien.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Meisho Samson early favorite for Tenno Sho

Meisho Samson, after closing Saturday betting round, has been installed as the early 3.7 favorite for the Tenno Sho Autumn. Admire Moon was the 4.1 second favorite. Daiwa Major and Pop Rock shared the third favorite at odds of 5.8.

Friday, October 26, 2007

2007 Tenno Sho Autumn preview

Admire Moon tops the strong field of the Tenno Sho Autumn. The 4-year-old colt by End Sweep out of the Sunday Silence mare My Katies ran four times in the current season, winning three including the Dubai Duty Free(g1) and the Takarazuka Kinen(g1). A 4-month layoff could be a setback, but he can have the ability to run up to the finish line if he runs his race. This will be his first start under the color of Darley Japan.

The main oppositons to Admire Moon could be: Tenno Sho Spring winner Meisho Samson, who finished a second in the Takarazuka Kinen last time out; Daiwa Major, who seeks to repeat his 2006 success; Pop Rock, with O. Peslier up, coming off a good second in the Kyoto Daishoten; Mainichi Okan winner Chosan and Sekiya Kinen winner Company.

In search of the 135.528 million yen first purse for the Tenno Sho Autumn, 16 runners will go to post at 3:40 p.m. JST on Sunday.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Field set for Tenno Sho Autumn

A strong field is set to run for the 2007 Tenno Sho Autumn at Tokyo on Sunday, October 28. 16 runners have been entered for the 2,000-meter traditional race. The post time will be at 3:40 p.m. JST on Sunday.

1 Meisho Samson 4c Y.Take
2 Eishin Deputy 5h Y.Shibayama
3 Cosmo Bulk 6h F.Igarashi
4 Delta Blues 6h Y.Kawada
5 Rosenkreuz 5h Y.Fujioka
6 Company 6h Y.Fukunaga
7 Silk Nexus 5h H.Shii
8 Bonneville Record 5h Y.Shibata
9 Agnes Ark 4c H.Yoshida
10 Bright Tomorrow 5h H.Goto
11 Sahdow Gate 5h K.Tanaka
12 Admire Moon 4c Y.Iwata
13 Chosan 5h N.Yokoyama
14 Daiwa Major 6h K.Ando
15 Pop Rock 6h O.Peslier
16 Matsurida Gogh 4c M.Ebina
All starters carry 59kgs.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tenno Sho(Autumn) trend

Favorites have won three times in the last 10 runnings. Occasional shocks. During the last 10 years, the longest-priced winner is Heavenly Romance(paid 7,580 yen for win as 14th pick) in 2005.
Good guidance in the last 10 years has been provided by the Kyoto Daishoten, which has produced 3 winners, 4 runner-ups and a third place. Seven of the last 10 winners have come into the Tenno Sho off the winning performances.
The 6-year-olds and up has won only once in the last 10 years, while the 4-year-olds have a good record, registering 6 firsts, 3 seconds and 5 thirds during the same period.

Major preps for Tenno Sho:

Kyoto Daishoten(g2): Sunday, October 7, 2007
Kyoto 2,400-meter turf
Final time: 2m 24.80s

6 Inti Raimi 2.4 T.Sato
3 Pop Rock 2.1f H.Shii
5 Al Nasrain 25.9 R.Wada
7 Dance a Joy 60.4 K.Tsunoda
2 Delta Blues 13.3 Y.Kawada
margins: nk, 1-3/4l, hd, ns

Mainichi Okan(g2): Sunday, October 7, 2007
Tokyo 1,800-meter turf
Final time: 1m 44.20s[record]

7 Chosan 44.4 M.Matsuoka
8 Agnes Ark 14.7 H.Yoshida
1 Daiwa Major 1.8f K.Ando
11 Erimo Harrier 50.8 Y.Yoshida
3 Bright Tomorrow 5.1 H.Goto
margins: 1l, 1/2l, nk, nk

Sankei Sho All Comers(g2): Sunday, September 23, 2007
Nakayama 2,200-meter turf
final time: 2m 12.50s

6 Matsurida Gogh 2.3f M.Ebina
12 Silk Nexus 13.3 Y.Kitamura
15 Erimo Harrier 17.8 Y.Yoshida
10 Chaste Wing 107.4 H.Yoshida
13 Daiichi Atom 19.1 S.Ishibashi
margins: 1/2l, 2-1/2l, 1-1/2l, 1-1/2l

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

2007 Tenno Sho Autumn

This Sunday sees the Tenno Sho Autumn at Tokyo. A total of 20 horses including 8 grade/group one winners have been nominated for the 2,000-meter traditional race.

Brief history of Tenno Sho Autumn
The Tenno Sho(Emperor’s Cup) is a biannual race, taking place in Spring at Kyoto and Autumn at Tokyo. The first running of the Tenno Sho Autumn edition was in 1937 at Tokyo over 2,600 meters and the distance extended to 3,200 meters the following year. The race was not run in 1944 due to war and continued to be abandoned over the next three years. In 1948, the traditional Autumn event was called as the Tenno Sho for the first time. The Tenno Sho Autumn was run over 2,000 meters for the first time in 1984. It was open to 3-year-olds in 1987. The door was opened for foreign-breds and foreign runners, respectively, in 2000 and 2005.

Past 10 winners:
2006 Daiwa Major
2005 Heavenly Romance
2004 Zenno Rob Roy
2003 Symboli Kris S
2002* Symboli Kris S
2001 Agnes Digital
2000 T M Opera O
1999 Special Week
1998 Offside Trap
1997 Air Groove
* at Nakayama

Sunday, October 21, 2007

2007 Kikuka Sho: Asakusa Kings wins in good style

The Kikuka Sho, the last leg of the Triple Crown Races for 3-year-olds, was triumphed in good style Sunday afternoon by fourth favorite Asakusa Kings, trained by R.Okubo and owned by K.Tahara, who beat sixth favorite Al Nasrain by a head with favorite Roc de Cambes(NZ)third, another 1 1/2-length back. Fourth place, another 1 1/2-length further back, was 12th favorite A Shin Dardman, followed by second favorite Dream Journey fifth place. Hirohumi Shii was aboard the winner to run the 3,000-meter turf race in 3 minutes 5.10 seconds on firm ground.

As the field entered the Kyoto stretch for the second time, Asakusa Kings, the Japanese Derby runner-up, got into the lead with Al Nasrain chasing him on the outside. A thrilling finish began when the two had a head-to-head battle, and they continued to fight it out to the line.

"We were collared by the second-placed horse, but I thought my horse fought back as he is a tough horse.", Shii said referring to the dual battle in the stretch. "He was in good shape. The longer distance is much suited by him."

Asakusa Kings, a 3-year-old colt by White Muzzle out of the Sunday Silence mare Croupier Star, has now registered four wins in 10 starts. The 152+ million yen first purse for the Kikuka Sho brought his career earnings to 309+ million yen. Shadai Farm is the breeder of the bay colt.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Roc de Cambes early favorite for Kikuka Sho

As of Saturday, Roc de Cambes(NZ) winning 4 races in as many starts has been installed as the 3.5 favorite for the 2007 Kikuka Sho. The 5.9 second favorite was Kobe Shimbun Hai winner Dream Journey. Satsuki Sho winner Victory was the 7.4 third favorite followed by Asakusa Kings(9.3).

Friday, October 19, 2007

2007 Kikuka Sho: Major Players

The major players in the 2007 Kikuka Sho could be:
St. Lite Kinen winner Roc de Cambes(NZ), who never got behind in 4 starts; Dream Journey coming off an impressive victory in the Kobe Shimbun Hai; Japanese Derby runner-up Asakusa Kings coming here with a respectable second in the Kobe Shimbun Hai; Satsuki Sho winner Victory and Hokuto Sultan who came from third and fourth, respectively, in the Kobe.

Kikuka Sho trend:
Favorites have recently struggled; Deep Impact in 2005 is the only winning favorite in the last 10 years. A prep race is essential. The last 10 winners have prepped at least once in the Autumn season. Kobe Shimbun Hai provides a good guidance. Five of the last 7 winners have run there.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

2007 Kikuka Sho field

The 2007 Kikuka Sho field has been drawn. A total of 18 3-year-old colts will go for the classic at Kyoto Racecourse on Sunday, October 21. The post position order with weights and jockeys for the 3,000-meter turf event is:

1 Hirakubo Royal 57 K.Take
2 Wake Island 57 H.Miyuki
3 Blue Materu 57 H.Tanaka
4 Roc de Cambes(NZ) 55 Y.Shibayama
5 A Shin Dardman 57 K.Tsunoda
6 Caught Euphoria 57 Y.Kawada
7 Tascata Sorte 57 Y.Fukunaga
8 Manhattan Sky 57 F.Komaki
9 Sun Zeppelin 57 M.Matsuoka
10 Asakusa Kings 57 H.Shii
11 Fusaichi Ho O 57 K.Ando
12 Al Nasrain 57 R.Wada
13 Rose Prestige 57 S.Akiyama
14 Duotone 57 S.Fujita
15 Bering Boy 57 K.Watanabe
16 Dream Journey 57 Y.Take
17 Hokuto Sultan 57 N.Yokoyama
18 Victory 57 Y.Iwata
The post time will be at 3:40 p.m. JST on Sunday.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

2007 Kikuka Sho

The 2007 edition of the Kikuka Sho(Japanese St.Leger) will run this Sunday at Kyoto over 3,000 meters on turf. A total of 22 colts remain for the Kikuka Sho on the final nomination stage.

Brief history
The first running of the Kikuka Sho, not so-called until 1947, was in 1938. This is one of the rare marathon races, held at Kyoto where contestants run over the third corner hill twice in the 3,000-meter trip to test their stamina. In combination with the Satsuki Sho and Japanese Derby, Kikuka Sho is the last leg of the Triple Crown Races.

Last 10 winners
2006 Song of Wind
2005 Deep Impact
2004 Delta Blues
2003 That's the Plenty
2002 Hishi Miracle
2001 Manhattan Cafe
2000 Air Shakur
1999 Narita Brian
1998 Seiun Sky
1997 Machikanefukukitaru

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Daiwa Scarlet claims best filly in Shuka

Daiwa Scarlet claimed the best 3-year-old filly in the country as she landed the Shuka Sho(g1) Sunday afternoon at Kyoto. Katsumi Ando on Daiwa Scarlet had a perfect ride to complete the 2,000-meter turf trip in 1 minute 59.10 seconds.

Second favorite Daiwa Scarlet got into front leaving the backstretch. From that point, she was never behind and just galloped the rest of the way. Second, a 1 1/4-length back, was seventh favorite Rain Dance. Race favorite Vodka and third favorite Bella Rheia, who rallied from far behind in the stretch, finished third and fourth respectively.

Following her Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) success earlier this season, Daiwa Scarlet picked up her second g1 glory of the year to make a Oka Sho - Shuka Sho double.

Quote from winning jockey Ando:
I just sat on her and let her run whatever she wanted to do. She stayed well on the 2,000-meter trip and finished strongly. She is a really good horse.

Daiwa Scarlet, an Agnes Tachyon chestnut filly out of the Northern Taste mare Scarlet Bouquet, raced under the color of Keizo Oshiro and her record has now improved to 7-5-2-0. The 92+ million yen first prize of the Shuka Sho brought her career earnings to 318+ million yen. Shadai Farm in Chitose Hokkaido is the breeder of Daiwa Scarlet, who is trained at Ritto by Kunihide Matsuda.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Daiwa Scarlet favored for Shuka Sho

The Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) winner Daiwa Scarlet, a half sister to multiple g1 winner Daiwa Major, has been installed as the early favorite for Sunday's Shuka Sho. After closing Saturday betting round, she was at odds of 3.0. The Japanese Derby heroine Vodka was at 3.2 for second favorite, followed by Bella Rheia at 3.5. The rest of the field was at 10.0 or higher.

Foreign nominations for 2007 JC and JCD

A total of 45 foreign runners have been preliminarily nominated for the 2007 Japan Cup. In the meantime, the 2007 Japan Cup Dirt has 14 foreigners. Selection process for the invitees on the both races is just under way after closing the foreign nomination dated on October 9. The 2007 Japan Cup will run on Sunday, November 25 at Tokyo. The date for the Japan Cup Dirt will be on Saturday, November 24.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Field set for 2007 Shuka Sho

A field is set for the 2007 Shuka Sho(g1). A total of 18 fillies will go to post for the 2,000-meter turf event at Kyoto on Sunday, October 14. The post time will be at 3:40 p.m. JST.

The 12th Shuka Sho, grade one
3-year-old fillies, 2,000 meters, turf, right-handed
Added money(in million yen):
1st; 89, 2nd; 36, 3rd; 22, 4th; 13, 5th; 8.9

1/Hishi Aspen(USA)/Kenichi Ikezoe
2/Minty Air/Masayoshi Ebina
3/Britomartis/Hideaki Miyuki
4/Zarema/Yuga Kawada
5/Love Caerna/Hayato Yoshida
6/Karenna Sakura/Tomoharu Bushizawa
7/Pink Cameo/Hiroki Goto
8/Meine Luce/Takuya Ono
9/Arco Senora/Eiji Nakadate
10/Hello Speed/Masami Matsuoka
11/Bella Rheia/Yutaka Take
12/Hokulele/Yusuke Fujioka
13/Daiwa Scarlet/Katsumi Ando
14/Tagano Premiere/Yoshizumi Hashimoto
15/Queen Spumante/Ryota Sameshima
16/Vodka/Hirofumi Shii
17/Rain Dance/Koshiro Take
18/Robe Decollete(USA)/Yuichi Fukunaga
All starters carry 55kgs.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Shuka Sho trend

Either favorites or second favorites have won 8 of the last 10 runnings. Two shock results in the last decade, Buzen Candle in 1999 and Tico Tico Tac in 2000. Rose Stakes runners have a good record, finishing 6 firsts, 7 seconds and 4 thirds in the last 10 years.

Sunday, September 16, 2007
Rose Stakes at Hanshin
Final time: 1m 46.10s

5 Daiwa Scarlet1 Bella Rheia
7 Rain Dance
8 Pink Cameo
6 Nihonpillow Cherie
margins: 1/2l, 1/2l, 1-3/4l, 1/2l

Daiwa Scarlet led the field of 14 fillies and was never behind during the 1,800-meter trip. Bella Rheia produced an excellent late charge to get second, a half-length behind the winner.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Brief history of Shuka Sho

As a part of racing program modification, the Shuka Sho was established for the third g1 event for 3-year-old fillies of the year in 1996. It is considered to be the final leg of the filly Triple Crown Series for fillies. The top-class runners assemble for the 2,000-meter race before
going for the Queen Elizabeth II Cup against older females.

Past winners
2006 Kawakami Princess
2005 Air Messiah
2004 Sweep Tosho
2003 Still in Love
2002 Fine Motion
2001 T M Ocean
2000 Tico Tico Tac
1999 Buzen Candle
1998 Phalanopsis
1997 Mejiro Dover
1996 Fabulous La Fouine

Monday, October 08, 2007

2007 Shuka Sho

A total of 24 3-year-old fillies remain in the final nomination stage for the Shuka Sho(g1), held at Kyoto on Sunday, October 14. The nomination includes Japanese Derby winner Vodka, Oka Sho winner Daiwa Scarlet, Japanese Oaks winner Robe Decollete(USA) and Japanese Oaks runner-up Bella Rheia.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Outsider takes Mainichi Okan in record time

The rank outsider Chosan took the Mainichi Okan(g2) Sunday afternoon by a length from Agnes Ark with favorite Daiwa Major finishing another half-length back in third. Masami Matsuoka was aboard the winner to come home in 1 minute 44.20 seconds, the record time for the Tokyo 1,800-meter turf course.

Sending off the 8th favorite at odds of 44.4, Chosan traveled well off the pace and ran on strongly in the stretch having taken the lead inside 100 meters from home. Held up early on, Agnes Ark chased the winner without threatening in the final stage. Daiwa Major took a good position and looked to take the command in the early stretch, but was not able to match the pace of the first two in the end.

It was the first grade success for Chosan, a 5-year-old son of Dance in the Dark out of the SoccerBoy mare Stay Young who has now recorded 6 wins in 18 starts.

Inti Raimi late charge to take Kyoto Daishoten

Coming off his Asahi Challenge Cup victory in early last month, Inti Raimi picked up another grade sucess when he won the Kyoto Daishoten(g2) Sunday afternoon at Kyoto by taking an explosive late charge. The winner's final time for the 2,400-meter distance was 2 minutes 24.80 seconds on firm ground. Tetsuzo Sato was the winning rider. Pop Rock took the inside lane and had every chance, but came in a neck short to take the second place. Al Nasrain took third followed by Dance a Joy fourth and Delta Blues fifth.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Pop Rock favorite for Kyoto Daishoten

As of Saturday, Pop Rock, winner of the Meguro Kinen(g2), has been installed as the favorite for the Kyoto Daishoten at odds of 2.5. Inti
Raimi was second favorite at 2.7, followed by Fast Tateyama 7.3 and Tosho Knight 7.5. The post position order with odds and jockeys for
the Kyoto Daishoten is:

1 Tosho Knight 7.5 T.Bushizawa
2 Delta Blues 13.2 Y.Kawada
3 Pop Rock 2.5 H.Shii
4 Makihata Cyborg 57.1 F.Komaki
5 Al Nasrain 19.0 R.Wada
6 Inti Raimi 2.7 T.Sato
7 Dance a Joy 38.8 K.Tsunoda
8 School Boy 71.3 Y.Fukunaga
9 Fast Tateyama 7.3 K.Take
10 Higher Game 28.7 S.Akiyama
The post time for the 2,400-meter grade two will be at 3:45 p.m. JST on Sunday, September 7.

The post position with odds and jockeys for the Mainichi Okan(g2) is as follows:

1 Daiwa Major 1.9 K.Ando
2 Pisa no Patek 45.4 H.Kitamura
3 Bright Tomorrow 4.9 H.Goto
4 Tosho Voice 39.2 J.Kobayashi
5 Stormy Cafe 36.0 E.Nakadate
6 Eishin Deputy 12.5 K.Tanaka
7 Chosan 41.6 M.Matsuoka
8 Agnes Ark 11.5 H.Yoshida
9 Top Gun Joe 26.1 M.Ebina
10 Camphor Best 39.8 T.Eda
11 Erimo Harrier 38.2 Y.Yoshida
12 Kongo Rikishio(IRE) 6.3 S.Fujita
13 Big Planet 139.3 S.Ishibashi
14 Vril(AUS) 93.5 H.Tanaka
The post time for the 1,800-meter race will be at 3:35 p.m. JST on Sunday, September7.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

This Week's JRA graded races

Delta Blues and Pop Rock, who were out of the Melbourne Cup, are among 14 nominations for this Sunday's Kyoto Daishoten(g2) at Kyoto. The two horses, both trained by Sumii, were originally scheduled to return to the world famous race, but epidemic flu in early-September ruined their plans to make a trip Down Under.

In the meantime, Tokyo hosts the Mainichi Okan(g2), a major prep for the Tenno Sho Autumn(g1), to be run on Sunday.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Aston Machan leads all the way to take Sprinters

The third favroite Aston Machan on a rainy Sunday afternoon gained a front-running victory in the Sprinters Stakes(g1) by a 3/4-length from favorite SansAdieu, who beat I'll Love Again by a neck for second. Fourth, another head behind, was King's Trail with Tamamo Hot Play fifth.

There was little description in the sprint race, as Aston Machan led the field of 16 from start to finish. Eiji Nakadate was aboard the winner to complete the 1,200-meter distance in 1 minute 9.40 seconds on the Nakayama soft ground.

"The soft going was on our side. I thought the gap was good enough to get home free when we opened up the lead. She was in top shape and relaxed. This was the first g1 win for me in 13 years and I am very pleased for this.", Nakadate said after the race.

Aston Machan became the first 3-year-old filly to win the Sprinters Stakes since Nishino Flower did it in 1992.

Sans Adieu early favorite in Sprinters S

As of Saturday, Sans Adieu has been installed as the early favorite for the Sprinters Stakes at 4.3. The 5-year-old mare by French Deputy has recorded two wins in last 3 starts including an impressive victory in the Centaur Stakes. Suzuka Phoenix, winner of the Takamatsunomi Kinen(g1) was second favorite at 5.7, followed by the 3-year-old speedster Aston Machan at 6.6. Ocean Stakes(g3) winner I'll Love Again and Keisei Hai Autumn Handicap(g3) winner King's Trail shared fourth favorite at 7.9.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Field set for 2007 Sprinters Stakes

The Sprinters Stakes field has been drawn. A total of 16 runners will go for the premier sprint race.

The 41st running of the Sprinters Stakes

Grade one
Nakayama, Race 11
3yo+, 1,200 meters, turf, right-handed
Added Money(in million yen): 1st; 95, 2nd; 38, 3rd; 24, 4th; 14, 5th; 9.5
Post time: 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, September 30

1/I'll Love Again/5h/57/Masami Matsuoka
2/Precise Machine/8h/57/Katsumi Ando
3/Agnes Raspberry/6m/55/Koichi Tsunoda
4/Orewa Matteruze/7h/57/Masayoshi Ebina
5/Tamamo Hot Play/6h/57/Syu Ishibashi
6/Sans Adieu/5m/55/Yuga Kawada
7/Aston Machan/3f/53/Eiji Nakadate
8/M O Winner/6h/57/Kenichi Ikezoe
9/Amberjack/4c/57/Yoshitomi Shibata
10/Koiuta/4f/55/Hayato Yoshida
11/Peer Gynt/5h/57/Hiroyuki Uemura
12/Lohengrin/8h/57/Hirofumi Shii
13/Meisho Bowler/6h/57/Yuichi Fukunaga
14/Couverture/3f/53/Hiroki Goto
15/Suzuka Phoenix/5h/57/Yutaka Take
16/King's Trail/5h/57/Katsuharu Tanaka

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Prep results for 2007 Sprinters Stakes

Sep 9 Centaur Stakes at Hanshin
The Centaur Stakes was won by Sans Adieu, who dominated the 15 rivals in the 1,200-meter turf. Under the hand of Yuga Kawada, Sans Adieu with full of speed got into front outside 200 meters from home. When he did so, the rest were far behind. He just galloped to the winning post in 1 minute 7.10 seconds. It was a 5-length behind that Kanoya Zakura finished second with Kinshasa no Kiseki third and Alluring Voice fourth.

Sep 9 Keisei Hai Autumn Handicap at Nakayama
King's Trail produced a superb late run to take the Keisei Hai Autumn Handicap Handicap. It was a 1 3/4-length victory for him who broke out of the pack in the stretch. Camphor Best took second, a 3/4- length before third-placed Meiner Segal with Michael Barows fourth. Katsuharu Tanaka was aboard the winner to get home in 1 minute 32.60 seconds on the 1,600-meter firm ground.

Aug 26 Keeneland Cup at Sapporo
Fourth favorite Couverture, ridden by Norihiro Yokoyama, chased the pace before drawing from the pack in the last 200 meters for the winning run. Second, a half-length behind, was second favorite Agnes Raspberry, followed by another nose back Wild Shout(USA) third. Final time was 1 minute 8.60 seconds for the 1,200-meter turf trip.

Aug 12 Kitakyushu Kinen at Kokura
11th pick Kyowa Roaring took the center stage on the Kokura Sunday meeting to gain an upset victory in the Kitakyushu Kinen by producing an outstanding late run. Sixth pick Alluring Voice took second, a neck behind the winner and a half-length before third-placed Y Cube in the field of 16 runners. Koichi Tsunoda guided the winner to complete the 1,200-meter turf in 1 minute 7.70 seconds. Kyowa Roaring returned 7,300 yen for win.

Centaur Stakes runners have a good record, recording 4 firsts, 2 seconds and 3 thirds in the last 7 years. A runner who takes a good position at final bend could have a good chance.Good run of form in recent starts is essential.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Brief history of Sprinters Stakes

The race was founded in 1967 as the most important event for sprinters. In introducing grading system in 1984, the Sprinters gained a g3 status and was upgraded to g2 in 1987. A g1 status was given in 1990. As the JRA program was modified in 2000, the event was held in early October for the first time. It has been running as an international race since 1994. The Sprinters Stakes, one of the two prominent sprint races(other is Takamatsunomiya Kinen), has built up its greatness as a sprint championship, and is the sixth leg of the Global Sprint
Challenge, inaugurated in 2005, which is made up of the seven sprint races.

Past 10 winners
2006 Takeover Target(AUS)(by Celtic Swing)
2005 Silent Witness(AUS)(by El Moxie)
2004 Calstone Light O(JPN)(by Warning)
2003 Durandal(JPN)(by Sunday Silence)
2002 Believe(JPN)(by Sunday Silence)
2001 Trot Star(JPN)(by Damister)
2000 Daitaku Yamato(JPN)(by Daitaku Helios)
1999 Black Hawk(GB)(by Nureyev)
1998 Meiner Love(USA)(by Seeking the Gold)
1997 Taiki Shuttle(USA)(by Devil's Bag)

Monday, September 24, 2007

2007 Sprinters Stakes

Sunday, September 30 will see the Sprinters Stakes, the opener for a series of the JRA g1 events in the 2007 fall season. A total of 38 horses have been nominated for the wide-open Sprinter Stakes at Nakayama over 1,200 meters on turf.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Admire Moon takes Takarazuka

Third favorite Admire Moon got home in the muddy Hanshin course to win the 2007 Takarazuka Kinen Sunday afternoon. He got the better of second favorite Meisho Samson by a 1/2-length. Another 2-length behind, Pop Rock was third with Admire Fuji fourth and Fast Tateyama fifth in the strong field of 18. Race favorite Vodka was done in the final 300 meters or so, fading into the eighth place.

Meisho Samson, ridden by Mamoru Ishibashi, borke away from the pack in the last 200 meters, but Yasunari Iwata-steered Admire Moon quickly drew on him. The two engaged a brief duel before Admire Moon powered his way to the winning post. Final time for the 2,200-meter distance was 2 minutes 12.40 seconds.

This was the third victory, including the Dubai Duty Free(g1) in late-March, of the year for Admire Moon, who has now registered his 9th win in 15 career starts. The 135+ million yen first purse brought his career earnings to more than 933 million yen. The 4-year-old colt is trained by H.Matsuda and owned by R.Kondo. Northern Farm in Hayakita, Hokkaido is the breeder of the bay colt by End Sweep out of the Sunday Silence mare My Katies.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Vodka early favorite for Takarazuka

As of Saturday, Vodka has been installed as the early favorite for the Takarazuka Kinen at odds of 3.0. The Japanese Derby heroine seeks another historical victory. Note that no 3-year-old has won the Takarazuka in the past 47 runnings.Tenno Sho Spring winner Meisho Samson was the second favorite at 5.1. The 6.2 third favorite was Daiwa Major, who comes here with an impressive victory in the Yasuda Kinen. International grade one winner Admire Moon was the fourth favorite at 6.9, followed by Pop Rock at 8.4 and Kawakami Princess at 9.4.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Field set for 2007 Takarazuka

The 2007 Takarazuka Kinen field has been drawn today. It is quite some lineup of the g1 premier event, for which 16 top class runners have been entered. The post time of the 2,200-meter turf will be at 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, June 24.

The field is as follows:

pp/Horse/AgeSex/Weight(in kgs)/Jockey
1/Swift Current/6h/58/N.Yokoyama
3/My Sole Sound/8h/58/K.Tsunoda
4/Makihata Cyborg/5g/58/R.Wada
5/Pop Rock/6h/58/Y.Take
6/Admire Moon/4c/58/Y.Iwata
7/Kawakami Princess/4f/56/K.Take
8/Inti Raimi/5h/58/T.Sato
9/Admire Fuji/5h/58/Y.Fukunaga
10/Admire Main/4c/58/Y.Kawada
11/Daiwa Major/6h/58/K.Ando
12/Tokai Trick/5h/58/H.Miyuki
13/Fast Tateyama/8h/58/F.Komaki
14/Shadow Gate/5h/58/K.Tanaka
15/Asakusa Kings/3c/53/M.Matsuoka
16/Cosmo Bulk/6h/58/F.Igarashi
17/Meisho Samson/4c/58/M.Ishibashi

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

2007 Takarazuka Kinen

The 48th running of the Takarazuka Kinen will be run on Sunday, June 24 at Hanshin Racecourse. A total of 20 top-rated horses including Japanese Derby winner Vodka have been nominated for the 2,200-meter turf event.

Brief History
The first running of the Takarazuka Kinen took place in 1960 at the distance of 1,800 meters and the trip was lengthened to 2,000 meters the following year. In 1966, the distance was further extended to 2,200 meters. The race was open to foreign horses in 1999 and upgraded to the international grade one race two years later. The Takarazuka Kinen, the Spring edition of the Arima Kinen, is considered as the biggest finale race for the first half of JRA racing calendar.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Japan sends four to US

Four JRA runners will race at Hollywood Park on the fourth of July weekend.

Japanese Oaks winner Robe Decollete(USA) takes on the American Oaks on July 6th to seek a Japanese-American Oaks double. On the next day, Koiuta, Kiss to Heaven and Dia de la Novia run in the CashCall Mile.

They are scheduled to leave Japan for US on June 25.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Daiwa Major takes Yasuda in final stride

Second favorite Daiwa Major stormed home a neck victory in the 57th running of the Yasuda Kinen Sunday afternoon at Tokyo. the 6-year-old horse defeated third favorite Kongo Rikishio in final stride. A neck separated the two. Third, a 2 1/2-length behind, went to Jolly Dance with another neck back Admire Kiss fourth, who was a neck better than fifth-placed Suzuka Phoenix(favorite).

Katsumi Ando was aboard Daiwa Major to come at the winning post in 1 minute 32.20 seconds after traveling the 1,600 meters on firm ground. "I am so relieved(to win the race). He proved that he is the best runner at this distance.", Ando quoted.

Kongo Rikishio retained a comfortable lead, at least three length ahead of the big pack, leaving the 200-meter marker, but Daiwa Major quickly drew on the leader having broken away from the pack on the inside. From there, the gap of the two narrowed as Daiwa Major strode at every step. Daiwa Major powered his way toward the line in doing so that he just put his neck in front at the post.

Disappointments for the grade one event were Hong Kong hopes; Good Ba Ba(seventh finish), Joyful Winner(ninth), Able One(12th) and The Duke(15th).

Daiwa Major, trained at Miho by Hiroyuki Uehara, has now enhanced his resume to the fourth g1 succes with record of 23-8-4-3.The Yasuda first prize of 103+ million yen improved his career earnings to more than 896 million yen. Daiwa Major, a son of Sunday Silence out of the Northern Taste mare Scarlet Bouquet, raced under the color of K.Oshiro. Shadai Farm in Chitose, Hokkaido was the breeder of the chestnut horse.

Friday, June 01, 2007

2007 Yasuda Kinen Preview

Hong Kong invaders took the first and third places last year in the Yasuda Kinen, and with a strong entry of four this year, they have a good chance to repeat it. Able One, Good Ba Ba, Joyful Winner and The Duke, who are all coming off the good form of run in the Champions Mile at Sha Tin, could dominate the Japanese g1 event for Hong Kong if they have their run.

Local racegoers will focus their hopes and expectations on Daiwa Major and Suzuka Phoenix. Daiwa Major, who had his career best runs last fall with a couple of g1 victories, makes his only second start of the year. His sole race this season was the Dubai Duty Free where he finished a respectable third. Late-striding Suzuka Phoenix, coming off the Takamatsunomiya Kinen(G1) victory, could show his best run at his favored course.

Sunday, June 3, 2007
The 57th running of the Yasuda Kinen, grade one
Tokyo Race 11, 3:40 p.m.
3-year-olds and upward, International
1,600-meter, left-handed, turf
Added moneny(in million yen):1st; 100, 2nd; 40, 3rd; 25, 4th; 15, 5th; 10

PP/Horse/AgeSex/Weight(in kgs)/Jockey
1/Sakura Mega Wonder/4c/58/Ryota Sameshima

2/Daiwa Major/6h/58/Katsumi Ando
3/Admire Kiss/4f/56/Yuga Kawada
4/Good Ba Ba(USA)/5g/58/Eric Saint-Martin
5/Kongo Rikishio(IRE)/5h/58/Shinji Fujita
6/The Duke(AUS)/8g/58/Robert Fradd
7/Orewa Matteruze/7h/58/Hiroki Goto
8/Suzuka Phoenix/5h/58/Yutaka Take
9/Joyful Winner(AUS)/7g/58/Gerald Mosse
10/Eishin Dover(USA)/5h/58/Yuichi Fukunaga
11/Meiner Scherzi/4c/58/Yoshitomi Shibata
12/Kiss to Heaven/4f/56/Hiroyuki Uchida
13/Air Shady/6h/58/Norihiro Yokoyama
14/Dia de la Novia/5m/56/Yasunari Iwata
15/Super Hornet/4c/58/Yusuke Fujioka
16/Symboli Escape/6h/58/Masayoshi Ebina
17/Able One/5g/58/Noel Callow
18/Jolly Dance/6m/56/Shinichiro Akiyama

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Colts hurt out of season

Admire Aura, third in the Japanese Derby last Sunday, will be sidelined for the remaining of the year due to leg injury. The colt suffered a bone chip in a left front knee during his Derby run and will undergo surgery.Coconut Punch had injury of his left rear leg during his third finish in the Meguro Kinen. It will take at least 6 months for him to recover from the injury.

Other brief news

NHK Mile Cup winner Pink Cameo is out of the American Oaks and will take a rest at Shadai Farm during summer.

The recent Japanese Derby winner Vodka will take on the Arc de Triomphe this fall, her owner Tanimizu revealed. Before the world-famous French event, she may prep in a Longchamp race, either Prix Niel or Prix Vermeille.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

2007 Yasuda Kinen

The Yasuda Kinen, the final leg of the Asian Mile Challenge, will take place on Sunday, June 3 at Tokyo. A total of 31 horses including 4 Hong Kong-based runners remain at the final nomination stage of the g1 1,600-meter event.

Brief History
The Yasuda Kinen(initially called the Yasuda Sho) was named after Mr. Izaemo Yasuda, who rendered the distinguished support of racing industry in early days. The first run was in 1946. In introduction of grading system in 1984, the race was given a g1 status and established as the championship for milers in Spring season. Since the door was opened for foreign runners in 1993, three foreigners have gained the Yasuda glory.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Fillies to make a trip to Hollywood Park

Robe Decollete(USA) is out of the English group one Coronation Stakes. The Japanese Oaks winner may run instead in the July 7 American Oaks at Hollywood Park.

NHK Mile Cup winner Pink Cameo and Victoria Mile winner Koiuta will be also heading to Hollywood Park. Pink Cameo may run in the American Oaks, while Koiuta's next subject could be the CashCall Mile.

Sumii makes Derby-Meguro double

Trainer Katsuhiko Sumii made a Japanese Derby-Meguro Kinen double as Vodka and Pop Rock won, respectively, the Japanese Derby and the Meguro Kinen yesterday.

In front of 131,185 attendance, Vodka achieved the great feat that paid attention to public imagination. Her next action has not yet been decided, but the trainer may set his eyes on an overseas premier event for her future run. In fact, the recent Derby winner has been nominated at the first forfeit stage of the 2007 Arc de Triomph.

Pop Rock defied the top weight of 58.5 kgs, gaining his second Meguro Kinen victory in two years. His next run in the Takarazuka Kinen is planned.

Sumii known as a world traveling trainer has won three grade/group one races overseas with Cesario, Hat Trick and Delta Blues.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

2007 Japanese Derby; Filly Makes History

Vodka, trained by Katsuhiko Sumii and owned by Y.Tanimizu, became the first filly in 64 years to win the Japanese Derby when she came on top at the finish line of the 74th Derby at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday afternoon. The only two other fillies to win the Derby were Hisatomo in 1937 and Kurifuji in 1943.

Hirofumi Shii took Vodka to settle nicely at the middle of the field early on, while Asakusa Kings with Sun Zeppelin right on his tail was a head of the 18-horse parade. The front two got going strong as the field came into the stretch, but the flying filly Vodka accelerated in the stretch uphill as if she had a mission to the great feat. When she did so, she just blew past the front runners and none of the colts were able to challenge.

With 200 meters to go, Vodka's neck was into front, and yet she won the race by a 3-length from Asakusa Kings. Another 1 3/4-length back Admire Aura came late to get third with Sun Zeppelin and Dream Journey finishing fourth and fifth respectively to complete the money earners.

Vodka paid 1,050 yen for win as third favorite.

Heavy favorite Fusaichi Ho O failed to settle nicely in the early going to finish a disappointing seventh. Second favorite Victory broke poorly and never recovered to end up in ninth place. Final time for the 2,400 meters on firm ground was 2 minutes 24.50 seconds.

Shii said, "I got a good response out of her on the final turn. I pushed her as hard as possibly as we broked away from the pack in the stretch. The plan was to save the ground and bring her to the outside going into the stretch. That's exactly happened in the race. It was the most honorable thing to ride a Derby winner as a jockey. I feel great."

Vodka, a 3-year-old filly by 2002 Derby winner Tanino Gimblet out of the Rousillon mare Tanino Sister, has now won 5 of her 7 races with 2 seconds, and the 190+ million yen first prize of the Derby brought her career eranings to 366+ million yen. Country Bokujo in Shizunai, Hokkaido is the breeder of the bay filly.

Pop Rock takes Meguro Kinen

Less than 2 hours after Vodka's great Derby victory, trainer Katsuhiko Sumii saddled another graded stakes success when his trainee Pop Rock won the g2 2,500-meter Meguro Kinen at the Tokyo night cap. The 6-year-old horse by Helissio won it in 2 minutes 31.40 seconds by a neck from Coconut Punch, a 3-year-old colt who made his first start against the older stakes company.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Fusaichi Ho O, Derby favorite

As of Saturday, Fusaro Sekiguchi-owned Fusaichi Ho O has been installed as the heavy favorite for the 2007 Japanese Derby at odds of 1.8. His winning streak ended last time out when finishing a close third in the Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas). The Derby would be his optimum trip and he could run up to the finish for the comeback. The 11.4 second favorite was the Satsuki Sho winner Victory, who could make or chase the pace to seek another classic glory. Admire Aura, who finished fourth in the Satsuki as favorite, was the 14.9 third favorite. Vodka, the only filly of the Derby field, was the fourth favorite at 16.6 followed by the Principal Stakes winner Golden Dahlia at 18.6. The rest of the field was 20.0 or higher price.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stage set for 2007 Japanese Derby

The 2007 Japanese Derby(Tokyo Yushun) field has been drawn. A total of 18 three-year-olds will run in the prestigeous race at Tokyo on Sunday, May 27.

The field for the 2,400-meter premier classic is as follows:

1/Tascata Sorte(Jungle Pocket)/Y.Take
2/Gold Aguli(Tanino Gimlet)/M.Katsuura
3/Vodka(Tanino Gimlet)/H.Shii
4/Golden Dahlia(Fuji Kiseki)/Y.Shibata
5/Tosen March(French Deputy)/H.Uchida
6/Meiner Fogo(Star of Cozzene)/Y.Kawada
7/Finistere(Dance in the Dark)/S.Fujita
8/Dream Journey(Stay Gold)/M.Ebina
9/Hiraboku Royal(Tanino Gimlet)/K.Take
10/Plateado(Silver Deputy)/H.Kitamura
11/Namura Mars(Chief Bearhart)/Y.Fujioka
12/Sun Zeppelin(Tenby)/M.Matsuoka
13/Laurel Guerreiro(King Halo)/K.Ikezoe
14/Admire Aura(Agnes Tachyon)/Y.Iwata
15/Fusaichi Ho O(Jungle Pocket)/K.Ando
16/Asakusa Kings(While Muzzle)/Y.Fukunaga
17/Victory(Brian's Time)/K.Tanaka
18/Flying Apple(USA)(Rahy)/N.Yokoyama

All starters except Vodka will carry 57kgs. Vodka, the only filly in the field, will carry 55kgs.
The post time will be at 3:40p.m. JST.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Filly to run in Derby

Oka Sho runner-up Vodka, considered one of the best fillies in the country, will run in the Japanese Derby on Sunday. It is the first time in 11 years that a filly will take on the Derby since Biwa Heidi in 1996.

In Derby history, there are the only two winning fillies, Hisatomo in 1937 and Kurifuji in 1943.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

2007 Japanese Derby

25 horses remained in the 2007 Tokyo Yushun(known as the Japanese Derby) after the final nomination stage. A maximum field of the Derby is 18.

Brief history
This classic's first six runs were known as the Tokyo Yushun Daikyoso. For the first time in 1938, the race was called as the Tokyo Yushun Kyoso and continued that name until 1947. It was carried out under the name of the Yushun Kyoso in 1948 and 1949. In the following year, the race name was changed again to the Tokyo Yushun. The first two runs were held at Meguro Racecourse(which no longer exists).
The Derby, frequently called the racing festival, has been the greatest of all races and established as the biggest race for 3-year-olds since the first run in 1932. It is the most glory and honor for any racing person to have a Derby winner. The Japanese Derby is combined with the Satsuki Sho and Kikuka Sho to complete the Triple Crown Races.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Robe Decollete wins Oaks in photo finish

Robe Decollete(USA) won the Yushun Himba(Japanese Oaks) in photo finish to become the first foreign-bred Oaks winner in JRA racing history. She nosed out favorite Bella Rheia at the post. Third, a 3/4-length behind, was Love Caerna with another neck further back Minty Air fourth. Yuichi Fukunaga was aboard the winner to complete the 2,400-meter distance in 2 minutes 25.30 seconds, the fastest time of the Oaks races.

With around 200 meters to go, Bella Rheia broke from the pack and looked like she was marching on to the finish line, but Robe Decollete quickly drew up on her on the outside right after taking the lane between Love Caerna and Minty Air. The best run of the two was Robe Decollete, who just got up to home by a nose in front of Bella Rheia.

Fukunaga rode the third Oaks winner following Daiwa El Cielo in 2004 and Cesario in 2005.

Trained by Shigeki Matsumoto and Koji Maeda, Robe Decollete is a 3-year-old daughter of Cozzene out of the Seeking the Gold mare Color of Gold. Mr. & Mrs. Larry D. Williams is the breeder of the grey filly.

Hong Kong invades Yasuda

JRA revealed on May 19 that four Hong Kong-based runners will arrive in Japan on May 23 to take on the grade one company of the June 3 Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo. The foreign invaders are Able One, Good Ba Ba, Joyful Winner and The Duke.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

2007 Japanese Oaks

A field of 18 fillies is set for the 68th running of the Yushun Himba(Japanese Oaks) to be run at Tokyo on May 20. In the absences of Daiwa Scarlet and Vodka, Flora Stakes winner Bella Rheia is likely to be the favorite. She drew post 7. Pink Cameo, who drew post 8, seeks another grade one glory after winning the NHK Mile Cup two weeks ago.Other leading contenders include Flora Stakes runner-up Minty Air and Oka Sho third Katamachi Botan, who will break from post 5 and 11 respectively.

The field of the Japanese Oaks is:

1/Smart Storm/K.Hasegawa
2/Robe Decollete(USA)/Y.Fukunaga
3/Meine Luce/T.Ohno
4/Hello Speed/M.Matsuoka
5/Minty Air/M.Ebina
6/Milk Toreru/D.Matsuda
7/Bella Rheia/S.Akiyama
8/Pink Cameo/H.Shii
9/Rain Dance/R.Sameshima
10/Tokai Oscar/H.Goto
11/Katamachi Botan/S.Fujita
12/Love Caerna/T.Kikuzawa
13/Vienna Waltz/I.Murata
14/Last Vega/Y.Yokoyama
15/Amano Cherry Run/K.Ikezoe
16/Admire Space/Y.Shibata
All starters carry 55 kgs. The post time will be at 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, May 20.

Two prominent fillies out of Oaks

Daiwa Scarlet and Vodka are out of the Japanese Oaks. Daiwa Scarlet will not run in Sunday's filly classic due to fever, while Vodka will instead run in next week's Japanese Derby.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Koiuta springs surprise Victoria Mile

Koiuta, a 60.3 outsider, sprung a surprise in the 1,600-meter Victoria Mile Sunday afternoon at Tokyo. The 12th favorite won it in 1minute 32.50 seconds by a half-length from Asahi Rising(33.6 ninth favorite). It was another nose behind that Daring Heart(32.6 eighth favorite) finished third in the field of 18 fillies and mares. Masami Matsuoka rode the first grade one winner to gain his biggest win in his 5-year jockey career.

No sooner had Matsuoka angled inside at around half-way sterch than Koiuta made rapid headway, and she just ketp running to get up to the winning post. Asahi Rising, who set the pace from the outset, hung on tough to get second.

Koiuta, a 4-year-old daughter of Fuji Kiseki out of the Dr Devious mare Violet Love, has now earned more than 236 million yen with five wins in 16 starts. M.Okuhira and Maekawa Kikaku Co. Ltd. trains and owns her respectively. Shadai Farm in Chitose, Hokkaido is the breeder of the dark chestnut filly.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Kawakami Princess favored for Victoria Mile

As of Saturday, dual g1 winner Kawakami Princess has been installled as the 2.3 favorite for the Victoria Mile in which she makes her debut of 2007 season. Sweep Tosho, considered one of the top-rated mares, was the 4.1 second favorite. The 10.3 third favorite was Dia de la Novia, followed by Admire Kiss 10.9 and Jolly Dance 11.8.

Four overseas runners have been selected for the Yasuda Kinen, run on Sunday, June 3 at Tokyo, as follows:
Able One, Good Ba Ba, Joyful Winner and The Duke

2007 Victoria Mile

A field of 18 fillies and mares is set to start in the Victoria Mile(G1) at Tokyo over 1,600 meters on grass.

1/Sayonara/6/Masayuki Nakamura
2/Dia de la Novia/5/Yasunari Iwata
3/Asahi Rising/4/Yoshitomi Shibata
4/Koiuta/4/Masami Matsuoka
5/Fusaichi Pandora/4/Yuichi Fukunaga
6/Kawakami Princess/4/Koshiro Take
7/Sweep Tosho/6/Kenichi Ikezoe
8/Kiss to Heaven/4/Norihiro Yokoyama
9/Spring Drew/7/Hiroyuki Uchida
10/Agnes Raspberry/6/Koichi Tsunoda
11/Solid Platinum/4/Futoshi Komaki
12/Blumenblatt/4/Shinji Kawashima
13/Cosmo Marvelous/5/Masayoshi Ebina
14/Admire Kiss/4/Yutaka Take
15/Sanrei Jasper/5/Tetsuzo Sato
16/Daring Heart/5/Shinji Fujita
17/Jolly Dance/6/Katsumi Ando
18/Venus Line/6/Shinichiro Akiyama
All starters carry 55kgs.
The post time will be at 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, May 13.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Pink Cameo big surprise in Mile Cup

Pink Cameo, one of the two fillies in the field of 18, exploded in the stretch, storming home a half-length victory in the NHK Mile Cup Sunday afternoon at rainy Tokyo Racecourse. Race favorite Laurel Guerreiro got second, a half-length before another long-shot Muramasano Yoto. NAR jockey Hiroyuki Uchida was aboard the winner to clock 1 minute 34.30 seconds for the 1,600-meter turf distance.

By they came into the stretch, long-shot Pink Cameo looked struggling in the rear, but in the next moment the filly produced a sensational bursting run as Uchida pulled her to the outside of the wide Tokyo course. She just outran horses one after another, and then her exposive run was more than enough to get past Laurel Guerreiro a few stride from the finish line. This victory was certain to ease the miserable finish of the Oka Sho in early-April.

In the color of Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co. Ltd., Pink Cameo has now recorded 4 wins in 7 starts with more than 139 million yen in earnings. Sakae Kunieda trains the French Deputy filly out of the Silver Hawk mare Silver Lane. Watership Down Stud in Niikappu, Hokkaido is the breeder of the bay filly.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Field set for 2007 NHK Mile Cup

A field of 18 three-year-olds is set to start in the 12th NHK Mile Cup at Tokyo over 1,600 meters on grass. The field for the NHK Mile Cup field
looks like this:

pp horse sex jockey
1 Asakusa Kings c Koshiro Take
2 Meiner Rainier c Masami Matsuoka
3 Osumi Daido c Yasunari Iwata
4 Meiner Fogo c Yuga Kawada
5 Meiner Segal c Hiroki Goto
6 Excuse f Norihiro Yokoyama
7 King's Delight c Kodai Hasegawa
8 Gold Aguli c Mitsuaki Ando
9 World Hunter(USA) c Masayoshi Ebina
10 Laurel Guerreiro c Shinji Fujita
11 Toho Racer c Hirofumi Shii
12 Siberian Bird(USA) c Katsuharu Tanaka
13 Direct Catch c Hiroshi Kitamura
14 Pink Cameo f Hiroyuki Uchida
15 High Society c Yuichi Shibayama
16 Shadow Stripe c Katsumi Ando
17 Danon Muro(USA) c Yutaka Take
18 Muramasano Yoto c Junichi Kobayashi
Weight: 57 kgs for colts, 55 kgs for fillies
The post time will be at 3:40 p.m. on Sunday, May 6, 2007.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Fillies eye for overseas

Excuse, probably one of the main contenders for Sunday's NHK Mile Cup, may run in the July 7 American Oaks(g1) at Hollywood Park, her trainer K.Fujisawa revealed. As reported earlier, Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) winner Daiwa Scarlet will go for the American Oaks after the Japanese Oaks, according to her connections.

In the meanwhile, Robe Decollete(USA), fourth placed in the Oka Sho, has been nominated in the first stage of the June 22 Coronation Stakes at Ascot.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

2007 NHK Mile Cup

Sunday will see the NHK Mile Cup for which a total of 36 three-year-olds have been nominated.

Brief history
The NHK Mile Cup was introduced in 1996 as a jpn-g1 race and has since then come at the top of mile events for 3-year-olds. The first six runs have been won by foreign-breds. For this reason, the Cup was once known as the foreign-bred Derby. It has produced prominent runners such as Seeking the Pearl, El Condor Pasa, Kurofune, Tanino Gimlet and King Kamehameha.

Sunday, April 29, 2007

Samson wins Tenno Sho in photo-finish

The 2007 race of the Tenno Sho Spring was won in exciting photo-finish Sunday afternoon at Kyoto Racecourse by Meisho Samson. He beat Erimo Excel by a nose with Tokai Trick another neck away third. Mamoru Ishibashi guided the 4-year-old colt to the 3,200-meter marathon race in 3 minutes 14.10 seconds on firm ground.

Outside 300 meters to go, Veteran jockey Mamoru Ishibashi forced Meisho Samson to take the lead, and the rest still bunched up close. In the next 200 meters, he looked to open up, but Tokai Trick on the rail and Erimo Excel on his outside closed with him to challenge. From that point, excitement began as the three went into a head-to-head battle to the line. After a photo inspection, Meisho Samson put his nose in front at the post.

Trained by S.Takahashi and owned by Y.Matsumoto, Meisho Samson is a 4-year-old son of Opera House out of the Dancing Brave mare My Vivien.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Field set for 2007 Tenno Sho Spring

A field of 16 is set for the 135th Tenno Sho Spring, held at Kyoto Racecourse on Sunday, April 29.
The field for the 3,200-meter traditional race is:

1/Matsurida Gogh/4c/N.Yokoyama
2/Fast Tateyama/8h/K.Take
3/Yumeno Shirushi/5h/Y.Yoshida
4/Admire Monarch/6h/I.Murata
5/Admire Title/5h/H.Shii
6/Meisho Samson/4c/M.Ishibashi
7/Tokai Elite/7h/M.Kawada
8/Eye Popper/7h/K.Ando
9/Win Glanz/7h/S.Akiyama
10/Tosho Knight/6h/T.Bushizawa
11/My Sole Sound/8h/K.Tsunoda
12/Tokai Trick/5h/K.Ikezoe
13/Dark Massage/4c/T.Sato
14/Never Bouchon/4c/H.Kitamura
15/Delta Blues/6h/Y.Iwata
16/Erimo Expire/4c/Y.Fukunaga
All starters carry 58kgs.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Major preps for Tenno Sho Spring

03/18 Hanshin Daishoten at Hanshin
Eye Popper beat favorite Dream Passport by a neck, winning the Hanshin Daishoten in 3 minutes 8.30 seconds for the 3,000-meter trip on the Hanshin main course.
Before making the final turn into the stretch for the second time, Dream Passport went into the front with Eye Popper trailing just behind. The two battled gamely to the line until Eye Popper prevailed. Third-placed Tokai Trick and fourth-placed Delta Blues made a final effort to get home just behind the first two.

03/24 Nikkei Sho at Nakayama
The Nikkei Sho took place Saturday afternoon at Nakayama. It was the half-length victory for third favorite Never Bouchon, who produced a great turn of foot in the closing stage. Second favorite Tosho Knight took second, a neck before favorite Matsurida Gogh.

04/01 Sankei Osaka Hai at Hanshin
Meisho Samson, winner of a couple of classic races last year, got off to a good start for his 4-year-old campaign when he won the Sankei Okasa Hai by a half-length from Shadow Gate with Meisho Ote finishing another neck behind for third. Mamoru Ishibashi was the winning jockey to travel the 2,000 meters in 2 minutes 1.40 seconds on the Hanshin main turf course.

Monday, April 23, 2007

2007 Tenno Sho Spring

The Tenno Sho Spring(G1) will take place this Sunday at Kyoto Racecourse. 20 runners have been nominated for the 3,200-meer traditional event. It will be a wide-open contest. A maximum field of 18 is expected to set for it.

Brief history
The Tenno Sho(Emperor's Cup) is a biannual race, taking place in Spring at Kyoto and Autumn at Tokyo. The Tenno Sho Spring(so called in 1948 for the first time) was inaugurated in 1938 at Hanshin over 2,700 meters. In 1939, the race was run over 3,200 meters for the first time. War caused the race to be suspended in 1945 and 1946. The door was opened for a limited number of foreign-breds in 2000. The traditional Spring edition is the biggest and most important race for routers.

Monday, April 16, 2007

Winning quote for Satsuki Sho

Quote from Katsuharu Tanaka who was aboard the Satsuki Sho(Japanese 2000 Guineas) winner Victory;

I did not intend to take up the running. There was the decreasing pace at the first turn, and that automatically brought us to the front. The pace my horse made may have been a bit strong, but it turned out to be a good pace to him. I just tried not to disturb his mood. We got behind in the stretch at a moment, but he gamely fought it back.

Tanaka rode the first g1 winner in 15 years since the 1992 Yasuda Kinen's win, finally snapping his losing streak at JRA g1 events in 140th mount.

[ Other brief news ]

Japan will send three horses to the 2007 Singapore Airlines International Cup at Kranji on May 20. Cosmo Bulk, Shadow Gate and Swift Current have been nominated for the international g1 event.

Dubai Duty Free winner Admire Moon moved to Hong Kong and is scheduled to run in the Hong Kong International Cup.

Depending on the outcome of her next action in the Japanese Oaks, Oka Sho(Japanese 1000 Guineas) winner Daiwa Scarlet may be heading to Hollywood Park for taking on the July 7 American Oaks.

Australian invader Karasi gained his third straight victory in the Nakayama Grand Jump when he won the Japanese richest and biggest jump race at Nakayama on Saturday, April 14.