Racing News

Seventh pick Mikki Rocket claimed this year’s all-star Takarazuka Kinen (Grand Prix) to capture his first G1 title. The son of King Kamehameha marked a runner-up effort in his only start as a two-year-old and won three out of 10 starts which included his first G1 challenge, the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, 5th) during his three-year-old season. While claiming his first graded victory in his first start as a four-year-old in the Nikkei Shinshun Hai (G2, 2,400m), he had been winless since, and came off a fourth in the Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1, 3,200m) in April. This win marked trainer Hidetaka Otonashi’s ninth JRA-G1 win following the 2016 Mile Championship title with Mikki Isle. For jockey Ryuji Wada, it was his eighth JRA-G1 title, his first in 17 years since the 2001 Tenno Sho (Spring) with T.M. Opera O.

Quick out of the gate, Mikki Rocket settled in mid-division, around seventh from the front. The son of King Kamehameha gradually made headway along the rails in the backstretch, turned the last two corners 2nd to 3rd from the front and pulled ahead entering the lane as Satono Diamond also surged out from the outside. Outrunning the race favorite 200 meters out after a brief duel in the early stretch, Mikki Rocket accelerated strongly while managing to fend off the powerful challenge by Werther for a neck victory in front of the cheering crowd of over 60,000 fans.

“Mikki Rocket was in great shape after a good fourth in the Tenno Sho (Spring) and in training towards this race so I was secretly thinking that maybe it was time that he deserved to be a G1 winner—I am relieved and happy. He has overcome his bad habit of missing his break which gives him a better chance in the race, and his position in the race was up to my rider to decide as he knows the horse well—he does have a tendency to lean to the inside so maybe that was the reason Wada let him hug the rails and nicely covered early in the race. I just prayed that he’d make it to the finish as Werther came strongly from behind. Now that he’s a legitimate member of the G1 ranks, his fall program, I think, will probably start with the Kyoto Daishoten with an aim on the Japan Cup,” commented Hidetaka Otonashi.

“I was determined to choose a nice firm route as the turf dried off after the rainy weather and we were lucky to take hold of a nice position from a smooth break today. The race was running at a solid pace but we were planning to go for a long spurt from early stretch so I kept him reserved, not too close but at a striking distance, during the trip. I wasn’t aware of Werther coming from behind me but I was awed by my horse’s ability to maintain his speed all the way to the wire,” said Ryuji Wada.

Werther broke smoothly from gate 13 and was rated well off the pace, sixth from the rear, one off the rails. Advancing gradually rounding the third corner while tracking behind Vivlos and Satono Crown along the outside, the son of Tavistock turned in a terrific turn of speed to rapidly close the gap and caused a serious threat to the eventual winner who drew away from early stretch, just missing by a neck for second.

“With a better draw, I reckon we could have won. He lost a lot of weight but he was all heart. He knows where the winning post is and considering he was racing with the weight loss, he still showed a lot of internal fortitude to hit that line—Hugh said that at the corner when he hit that straight, he thought he was going to win but the winner just kept grinding to the line. But from a Hong Kong point of view, I think we’ve shown how good our best stayer is,” commented John Moore.

“Although we couldn’t win, I couldn’t be happier with the horse’s performance. At the top of the straight, I thought we had him covered, had a beautiful running transit. He enjoyed the genuine speed here in Japan and, to be honest, if he didn’t have the set-back earlier in the year and had the time to prepare for this from the start, he would have won. I think that just having the one race over a mile into a Japanese 2,200-meter race, where it’s really a testing race—although it suits this horse’s style of racing—was why his condition gave out. But full credit to John (Moore) and the stable for getting him to come here and do so well at this level,” said Hugh Bowman.

Twelfth favorite Noble Mars hugged the rails behind Mikki Rocket, around ninth from the front. The son of Jungle Pocket chased the eventual winner up to the wire, overtaking the race favorite along the way but succumbing to Werther in the last 100 meters to finish three lengths behind in third.

Race favorite Satono Diamond broke well and eased back to third from the rear but edged forward traveling three wide along the backstretch. The Deep Impact-sired bay dueled briefly with the eventual winner but weakened in the last 200 meters and dropped back to sixth.

Takarazuka Kinen (G1) - Preview19 Jun 5:42 pm

After two weeks without a Grade 1 to headline Japan Racing Association racing, the Takarazuka Kinen steps in to give the fans one last thriller until top-level racing starts up again in late September. Sunday, June 24 sees the action move to Hanshin Racecourse west of Osaka, where 16 horses nominated not only by their connections but by the fans as well will compete in the first of the year’s two “All-Star” races. This year marks the 59th running of the Takarazuka Kinen, a 2,200-meter turf event carrying a total purse of 325 million yen and a first-place prize of 150 million yen.

The full gate of 18 will be two shy on Sunday and without one sole standout in the champion lineup that includes five Grade 1 winners, bets are expected to be spread over the field. Ballot heavyweight Satono Diamond, who won both the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) and Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix) last year, as well as close to 64,000 votes from the fans, will likely be the race favorite, with Kiseki, another Kikuka Sho winner and only one of two 4-year-olds in the field, looking for his second Grade 1 victory. Last year’s winner Satono Crown is back to try to become only the second horse in the race’s history (after Gold Ship in 2014) to win back-to-back versions and two mares – Vivlos and Smart Layer – will attempt to become only the fourth female yet to win the Takarazuka. Three horses – Satono Crown, Vivlos and Danburite – are heading directly from overseas excursions into the Takarazuka, while the Hong Kong-based gelding Werther will be racing in Japan for the first time. He is only the second foreign raider to take on the Takarazuka Kinen, the first in 21 years.

The competition is interesting in the saddles as well, with Christophe Lemaire on Satono Diamond chasing down his fourth Grade 1 victory in Japan this year alone and looking to tie the only two other jockeys currently riding who have ever won four Grade 1s before the summer. They are Yutaka Take, who also holds the record for most wins of the Takarazuka at four, and Yuichi Fukunaga, who captured his first Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) this year, aboard Wagnerian. The two riders are set to ride Danburite and Vivlos, respectively.

The Takarazuka Kinen is run over the Hanshin inner course and horses must execute four turns. The race starts to the far right of the stands and continues 530 meters to the first turn. From 200 meters before the finish line the track rises 2 meters over half a furlong and from early in the backstretch, the course starts a gentle downward slope that continues until hitting the stretch hill 200 meters out.

Earnestly, who clocked 2 minutes, 10.1 seconds in 2011, still holds the race record.

The Takarazuka Kinen is the 11th race on the Hanshin card of 12 on June 24. Post time is 15:40 local time.

Here’s a look at some of the expected top choices.

Satono Diamond – This Deep Impact 5-year-old beat Kitasan Black, winner of seven Grade 1s, in the 2016 Arima Kinen after running third in the Grade 1 Satsuki Sho and second in the Japanese Derby. He continued to shine brightly until traveling to France in the fall of 2017. Though Satono Diamond has not posted a win since March of 2017, he looks primed for one, going in to his third start since returning to Japan following two overseas challenges and, had he been able to get a clear run last out in the Osaka Hai, would likely have fared better than seventh place. He can handle both the course and the distance and Christophe Lemaire in the saddle is a formidable factor.

Vivlos – Winner of the 2016 Grade 1 Shuka Sho, the Yasuo Tomomichi-trained Vivlos captured the Dubai Turf at Meydan last year and returned for a second run on March 31 this year. She finished second, but it was a step down in finishing order only, as her time was a full 3.7 seconds faster than last year. The Takarazuka distance, as indicated by her fifth-place in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup last year, should not pose a problem, and though her only other Hanshin run ended in a 12th-place finish, she has won racing to the right. Vivlos will be paired with Yuichi Fukunaga and the Tomomichi-Fukunaga combination has brought 50 wins in 277 starts, including Fukunaga’s Derby victory. Fukunaga has yet to win the Takarazuka, but another first could well be in the stars.

Kiseki – This son of Rulership won the Kikuka Sho and next traveled to Hong Kong, where he ran ninth. Back for his first start this year in March, he went to the lead amid a slow pace to finish ninth again in the Grade 2 Nikkei Sho over 2,500 meters at Nakayama. Still somewhat difficult to settle, Kiseki should fare better with the shorter distance. Kiseki won the Kikuka Sho over a sloppy track and rain would be a plus on Sunday. Mirco Demuro is slated for the ride.

Perform a Promise – This Stay Gold 6-year-old looks to be coming into his own at last after rising quickly through the ranks from early last year to reach the Grade 2 level and win the Nikkei Shinshun Hai this past January. He followed that with a third in the Meguro Kinen on May 27 that spotlighted his tenacity and excellent acceleration. The 2,200 meters of the Takarazuka should give him enough ground and though it’s been a while since he raced at Hanshin, he did win his debut there. If he can handle the 58 kg he’ll be carrying, only 1 kg more than he’s raced under (and won), all should be well. His last two starts were under Mirco Demuro but Keita Tosaki in the saddle is equally advantageous.

Mikki Rocket – Looking to win his first Grade 1 is the 5-year-old King Kamehameha-sired Mikki Rocket. Sixth in last year’s Takarazuka Kinen, Mikki Rocket has not won since January 2017, when he aced the Grade 2 Nikkei Shinshun Hai at Kyoto. This year he has had three starts, including the Tenno Sho (Spring), where he turned in a solid performance that earned him fourth place. Rain would be a problem but the distance is one he’s used to. Trainer Hidetaka Otonashi says, “He wants to move in morning work, is looking really good and has gotten better out of the gate. His best distance is probably 2,400 meters, but I think he can handle this.”

Werther – The 7-year-old New Zealand-bred Werther, by Tavistock, had an outstanding season in 2015/1016 that brought him the Horse of the Year Award in Hong Kong. Last year, he notched two wins at the top level, over 2,000 meters and 2,400, then ran second at yearend in the Hong Kong Cup, finishing ahead of Neorealism, Staphanos and Smart Layer in that order. He has a 3-2-6 record from his three starts this year, which included two Grade 1 events and last raced at Sha Tin on June 3. In that race, though he finished sixth it should be noted that he was racing for the first time in four months, carrying 60 kg and racing over a mile, not his best distance. Hugh Bowman has the ride on Sunday.

Satono Crown – This Marju 6-year-old captured last year’s Takarazuka and ran a close second to Kitasan Black in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) six months later, but has posted two double-digit finishes in his three starts since and is returning now from a seventh-place run at Meydan in the Dubai Sheema Classic. It’s been 3 months since that run but a return to Hanshin is a plus. Better yet would be rain, which is predicted for the area for much of this week.
Other hopefuls worth a wager are Strong Titan and Smart Layer. The latter, now 8 years old, ran fifth in the Hong Kong Cup over 2,000 meters in December. She couldn’t keep up with the sudden rise in pace in the Osaka Hai, but did turn in a respective seventh in the marathon Tenno Sho (Spring) last out. She has had her best results at Hanshin. Strong Titan notched a win in the 2,000-meter Grade 3 Naruo Kinen at Hanshin on his second start back after five months’ off. Late speed is his forte and rain poses no problems. It will be his first time carrying 58 kg but at over 520 kg himself, he should be able to handle it.

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Takarazuka Kinen (G1) - Handicapper's Report on Ja18 Jun 10:10 am

The Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200m), established in 1960, is an “All-Star” (Grand-Prix) G1 event where top runners of all distances selected through fan votes gather to determine the overall JRA turf champion of the first half of the season whereas the Arima Kinen (G1, 2,500m) is held in the same manner in December. The top 10 horses selected by fans from the list of JRA registered horses (excluding those that are winless or yet to start in a race) that have submitted their declaration to start are eligible to run regardless of earnings. The race opened its door to foreign runners in 1997 when Seto Stayer (AUS, by Bellotto) from Australia became the first challenger from abroad and finished ninth but none ran after that until this year; Hong Kong’s top middle-distance runner Werther (NZ, G7, by Tavistock) will be the first overseas challenger in 21 years and second overall to make his bid for the Takarazuka Kinen title.

Satono Crown (JPN, H6, by Marju) is the defending champion and the highest rated runner among the Japanese field. His first G1 title came in Hong Kong when winning the 2016 Hong Kong Vase (G1, 2,400m). After his victory in the Takarazuka Kinen last year, he continued to excel in the fall, just missing by a neck to two-time Horse of the Year Kitasan Black (JPN, by Black Tide) in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1, 2,000m). However, his hard-fought effort over testing ground in the Tenno Sho affected his following starts in the Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m) and the Arima Kinen in which he disappointed to 10th and 13th, respectively. He made his first long-distance travel to Dubai in March this year for the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1, 2,410m) but, disturbed by the horse next to him who was fractious in the gate, the son of Marju (IRE, by Last Tycoon) was unable to show his best in the race. He performs particularly well over 2,200 meters at which he has won not only the 2017 Takarazuka Kinen but also the 2016-17 Kyoto Kinen (G2, 2,200m) and expectations are high for the powerful six-year-old to bounce back to his winning ways in the coming race. He is pre-rated at 122I,L.

Satono Diamond (JPN, H5, by Deep Impact) was the leading vote-getter for this year’s Takarazuka Kinen. A winner of the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1, 3,000m) as a three-year-old who went on to claim the Arima Kinen against his seniors in the same year, the son of Deep Impact (JPN, by Sunday Silence) held high expectations in the following year in which he kicked off with another grade-race victory in the Hanshin Daishoten (G2, 3,000m) prior to his overseas endeavor to France in the fall. However, he was unable to perform over the grass in Europe and was fourth in the Prix Foy (G2, 2,400m) and 15th in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1, 2,400m). He was third in his comeback start this season in the Kinko Sho (G2, 2,000m) while demonstrating a good turn of speed at the stretch. He was also unlucky in the Osaka Hai (G1, 2,000m) where he was unable to find a clearing from racing inside early and finished seventh. He has a record of three wins (two G2 titles) out of four starts at Hanshin Racecourse where the coming race is to be held. He is pre-rated at 120E.

Vivlos (JPN, M5, by Deep Impact) is internationally recognized for her victory in the 2017 Dubai Turf (G1, 1,800m) – she was runner-up in the same race this year. As a three-year-old, the Deep Impact filly missed the cut in the first two legs of the fillies’ triple crown, the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas, G1, 1,600m) and the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1, 2,400m) but promptly won the third jewel, the Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m). The coming race will be her comeback start since the Dubai Turf and while her recovery after the strenuous trip remains a concern, she appears to be handling her training at Ritto Training Center very well towards the Takarazuka Kinen. The extra furlong will be another factor for the five-year-old mare who is mostly raced between 1,800 and 2,000 meters. Her final rating as of the end of last year was 117M.

The standard of this year’s four-year-olds proves to be high with Suave Richard (JPN, C4, by Heart’s Cry) and Mozu Ascot (USA, C4, by Frankel) landing G1 titles earlier this season in the Osaka Hai and Yasuda Kinen (G1, 1,600m), respectively.

Kiseki (JPN, C4, by Rulership), who topped the three-year-olds last year in the Kikuka Sho, is slated to run in the Takarazuka Kinen. While he has not been at his best after his Kikuka Sho triumph, finishing ninth in both the Hong Kong Vase and the Nikkei Sho (G2, 2,500m), he is expected to improve from just 10 career starts since his debut in December of his two-year-old season. He is pre-rated at 118E.

Another emerging four-year-old is Danburite (JPN, C4, by Rulership), a grade-race winner in the American Jockey Club Cup (G2, 2,200m) in January this year. While beaten by Kiseki last season in both the Kobe Shimbun Hai (G2, 2,400m, fourth) and the Kikuka Sho (fifth), he proved consistent throughout his three-year-old classic starts, finishing third and sixth in the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m) and the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1, 2,400m), respectively. Although he ran out of steam at the stretch in his previous start in Hong Kong’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1, 2,000m), he is usually known to be extremely tenacious with lasting speed. His final rating last year was 116I and is pre-rated 114L.

Strong Titan (USA, H5, by Regal Ransom) is well worth a look as a possible factor in this race, having come off a record-breaking victory at Hanshin Racecourse less than a month ago. While less spectacular on paper compared to the aforementioned members, the son of Regal Ransom (USA, by Distorted Humor) demonstrated a fine turn of speed which won him his first grade-race victory in the Naruo Kinen (G3, 2,000m) while timed in 1:57.2 over 2,000 meters and appears to be in great condition. He has turned in runner-up efforts twice over testing ground last fall in the October Stakes (Listed, 2,000m) and the Andromeda Stakes (Listed, 2,000m), but is said to perform better on firm going so his chances may depend on the track condition on the day of the race. His is rated at 109I.

Staphanos (JPN, H7, by Deep Impact), while yet to claim a G1 title, has proved competitive in a number of major events. While his only grade-race title came a while ago in 2014 in the Fuji Stakes (G3, 1,600m), the son of Deep Impact has registered runner-up efforts in three G1 starts – Queen Elizabeth II Cup and the Tenno Sho (Autumn) in 2015 as well as the Osaka Hai last year. He comes off an unfortunate 11th-place finish following a disadvantage at the homestretch in the Niigata Daishoten (G3, 2,000m). His trainer, Hideaki Fujiwara, is currently JRA’s leading trainer (as of June 10), eight wins ahead of his nearest rival, with 36 wins and has another starter in the All-Star race. Perform a Promise (JPN, H6, by Stay Gold) is an improving six-year-old who won his first grade-race challenge in the Nikkei Shinshun Hai (G2, 2,400m) in January followed by a close third in the Meguro Kinen (G2, 2,500m). Staphanos is rated 118I and Perform a Promise 107L.

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Mozu Ascot Lands First Graded Title with Surprise 04 Jun 10:09 am

Mozu Ascot claimed his first graded win in this year’s Yasuda Kinen after being sent off ninth favorite in a field of 16 tying the race record of 1:31.3 set in 2012. The Frankel colt debuted last year in June and marked two fourths in a 1,800m and 2,000m race, went on to notch four wins in succession in races between 1,400m and 1,600m and then capped off his debut campaign with a fourth in his first graded test, the Hanshin Cup (G2, 1,400m) in December. This year, he kicked off his second season with three consecutive runner-up efforts, the Hankyu Hai (G3, 1,400m) in February, the Milers Cup (G2, 1,600m) in April and his previous start, the Azuchijo Stakes (1,400m) just a week prior to his first G1 challenge. This was trainer Yoshito Yahagi’s first Yasuda Kinen victory and fourth JRA-G1 title, his latest was with 2012 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner Deep Brillante. Jockey Christophe Lemaire landed his 17th G1 title after claiming the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) with Almond Eye two weeks earlier.

As the field broke at the top of the backstretch, Win Gagnant gunned for the lead from the farthest stall with Reine Minoru stalking the pace. Mozu Ascot made steady progress in mid-pack but was checked briefly before the far turn before settling on the rails up to the top of the straight. Steadily chasing half of the field up the stretch hill and on the heels of Suave Richard, the four-year-old made most of the opening found just as the race favorite shifted outside with a furlong to go and charged strongly to the line catching the favorite and then Aerolithe in the final strides for a neck win.

Aerolithe, G1 victor at the mile distance, broke well and raced a few lengths behind the leader in third up to early stretch. While picking off the tiring pace setter at the furlong pole, the four-year-old filly stretched well holding off the fast-closing favorite but surrendered the lead in the last strides to Mozu Ascot for second.

Race favorite Suave Richard took a ground saving trip in fourth to fifth and was in good striking position with a clear path in front of him at the top of the stretch. With 300 meters to go, the G1 winner found another gear and drove well almost tagging Aerolithe in the last 50 meters then overtaken by the hard-closing winner in the final strides to finish third.

Western Express broke smoothly and positioned handily around fifth to sixth behind a brisk pace, turned smoothly into the straight with every chance to rally in the early stretch but was unable to sustain his bid and fell back to tenth while crossing the wire a second behind the record-tying winner.

“He went really well and couldn’t be happier with him—he just lacked the strong finish at the mile. He jumped well, the pace wasn’t overly strong early, then it got quicker from the 1,000 or 800 (meters) and he was tired at the end—but he didn’t drop out, he kept trying and he’s only been beaten by five lengths or so. He’s probably gone as good if not better than he ever has,” commented Samuel Clipperton.

“We thought that he ran as good as he could but the (other) horses in the race, they were just too strong for him. He stood in the gate quietly, jumped well on the terms of the other horses, he had a nice run in the first section of the race, he was fifth one off the fence, so you couldn’t ask for better than that, committed to make a run and he just wasn’t strong enough to get up the hill and up to the line,” commented John Size.

Other Horses:
4th: (2) Satono Ares―broke poorly, 3rd from rear, tied fastest over last 3 furlongs, belatedly
5th: (15) Sungrazer―traveled wide in mid-pack, responded well, tied 3rd fastest over last 3 furlongs
6th: (5) Persian Knight―ran in front of eventual winner, struggled to find clear path, quickened in last 200m
7th: (16) Win Gagnant―set pace, led until 200m marker, overtaken in last 100m
8th: (14) Lys Gracieux―raced wide outside eventual winner, lacked needed kick
9th: (9) Red Falx―sat 2nd from rear, turned wide, passed tired rivals
11th: (8) Campbell Junior―forwardly positioned in 4th, weakened in last 200m
12th: (6) Reine Minoru―chased leader in 2nd, sustained bid until 200m pole
13th: (12) He's in Love―settled towards rear, even paced
14th: (3) Dashing Blaze―hugged rails inside eventual winner, showed little at stretch
15th: (11) Real Steel―traveled wide in mid-division, never fired at stretch
16th: (13) Black Moon―was off slow, trailed in rear, no factor

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Yasuda Kinen (G1) - Preview29 May 3:02 pm

The final top-level race at Tokyo Racecourse until the fall season will be run on Sunday, June 3. It’s the Yasuda Kinen, the third big mile to be held over the span of a month, but the only one open to all ages 3 and up, males, females and geldings. The Yasuda Kinen is one of the most important mile Grade 1 events for determining the top miler of the year along with the Mile Championship in the fall at Kyoto.

This year’s lineup of 18 will most likely boast seven Grade 1 winners, including 2017 NHK Mile Cup victor Aerolithe and 2017 Mile Championship winner Persian Knight. The lineup sees a return of some participants from last year, such as 2017 third-place finisher Red Falx and fourth-place finisher Greater London, but also brings many new faces, such as Osaka Hai victor Suave Richard, Sungrazer and Real Steel, all expected to be popular picks for the 68th running of the race.

The Yasuda Kinen has long been a favorite target for overseas-based horses, particularly from Hong Kong, and the race has been won by a foreign raider four times before, the last being in 2006 by Bullish Luck. This year sees only one participant from abroad – Hong Kong’s Western Express.

Japanese races considered important lead-up races into the Yasuda Kinen include the Grade 2 Keio Hai Spring Cup, Grade 3 Lord Derby Challenge Trophy, Grade 2 Yomiuri Milers Cup, and Grade 3 Tokyo Shimbun Hai. All the winners of those – Moonquake, He’s in Love, Sungrazer and Lys Gracieux, respectively – are expected to start on Sunday.

The Tokyo turf 1,600 starts at the top of the backstretch and continues 542 meters until the first turn, which gives even those who have drawn wide considerable maneuvering time. The Tokyo stretch, with its 525 meters (225 meters of them uphill), makes for a formidable challenge. Coming at the end of a long meet, tactical decisions, such as whether to save ground or aim for the good, carry all the more weight and upsets are common.

Over the last 10 years, the favorite has won only four times and finished second once. The top three picks on race day have finished in the top three spots 12 times in the past 10 runnings and though a double-digit pick has not won in the past 10 years, seven such longshots have finished in the money in half of the past 10 runnings.

The race record of 1 minute, 31.3 seconds was set by Strong Return in 2012. Here is a look at some of this year’s Yasuda Kinen popular runners:

Suave Richard: Suave Richard aced the Osaka Hai in April and brought home his first Grade 1 victory on his fourth try. His performances at Tokyo have brought him two wins and two seconds, including a close second in the Japanese Derby last year. The biggest unknown facing the 4-year-old son of Heart’s Cry this time out is the “distance.” The colt has raced predominately at distances of 2,000m and up, with only two starts at 1,800m. This will be his first run over a mile. Still, he has raced successfully from a variety of positions and Tokyo should give him his best chance over the mile. Trainer Yasushi Shono says, “He’s not the fastest out of the gate, so we’ve been schooling him so he won’t get left behind. He covered the first 1,000 meters in 56 some seconds and I think his time shows he can handle it.” The past 10 runnings of the Yasuda have seen only horses accustomed to the distance finish in the top three spots and since 1984 only one other horse – Yamanin Zephyr in 1992 – has won the Yasuda Kinen on a first attempt over a mile.

Persian Knight: After losing the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) by a neck last year, this Harbinger-sired colt managed to nab his first Grade 1 with the Mile Championship. On April 1, excellent timing under Yuichi Fukunaga helped him run a close second in the 2,000-meter Grade 1 Osaka Hai. Persian Knight’s three runs at Tokyo thus far (2-7-5), two over the mile, indicate neither the course nor the distance pose problems. Yuga Kawada, on the winner last year and in 2015, is set for the ride on Sunday.

Sungrazer: A highly consistent runner, this 4-year-old son of Deep Impact has finished out of the money only once in his 13-race career, which has consisted mostly of races in the 1,400-1,600 meter range since his 3-year-old year. Six wins, including two Grade 2s, one second, four thirds and a win last out in the Grade 2 Milers Cup on April 22 are likely going to make Sungrazer one of the top choices for the Yasuda Kinen. He has yet to win a top-level event, but he has come close with a third in the Mile Championship last November at Kyoto and that was coming off a 4-month layoff in a race that was won in record time. It will be his first time at Tokyo, and only his second time racing to the left since his career debut at Chukyo in July 2016. That’s a big question mark, but his excellent late speed and the long Tokyo stretch should work in his favor, as should having last week’s Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner Yuichi Fukunaga in the saddle. Fukunaga won the Yasuda in 2012 and has piloted Sungrazer in five of his last six races, from which he reaped three wins and two thirds.

Red Falx: By Swept Overboard, the gray Red Falx finished third in the Yasuda last year, only 0.1 seconds off the winner. He then went on to win the Grade 1 Sprinters Stakes next out 4 months later. Though he ran eighth in the Mile Championship and the same in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, a return to Tokyo should suit this veteran, who prefers to race from far off the pace. At 7 years old, Red Falx is still going strong, has finished in the money in nine of his last 13 starts (including five wins) and is not one to be overlooked.

Real Steel: One of three runners nominated by trainer Yoshito Yahagi, Real Steel returns from his second run in the 1,800-meter Dubai Turf. He failed to notch a back-to-back win but did tie for third. Not bad for his first race in five months. Last year, with the same rotation, he finished 11th in the Yasuda but he’s said to be looking quite good in morning work and expectations are up. The Deep Impact 6-year-old has two graded-stakes wins at Tokyo, albeit over a furlong more, and this will only be his second time over the mile.

Lys Gracieux: Lys Gracieux is one of three females in the lineup this year, all of them 4-year-olds. This daughter of Heart’s Cry missed the Victoria Mile on May 13 by a nose under Yutaka Take and is back for another try just three weeks later. Lys Gracieux beat Satono Ares in the Tokyo Shimbun Hai in February and is well suited to the Tokyo mile. She has run second in four Grade 1 all-female events thus far and if there’s anyone that deserves a win, it’s her, but it has been eight years since a female (Vodka) won the Yasuda Kinen and key will be whether Lys Gracieux can weather the tough rotation. Yutaka Take, who is slated for the ride, has won the Yasuda Kinen three times – in 1990 aboard Oguri Cap, in 1995 with Heart Lake, and on Vodka in 2009.

Satono Ares: Trainer Kazuo Fujisawa is fielding four horses (his most yet) in the Yasuda Kinen – Tower of London, Star of Persia, Moonquake and the Deep Impact colt Satono Ares, considered to have the best shot at the money. Winner of the Asahi Futurity Stakes in 2016, Satono Ares ran 11th in the Satsuki Sho and has not posted a win since last July. But he has proven consistent in his last three starts, which include a second in the Grade 3 Tokyo Shimbun Hai over the Tokyo mile and last out, a close third in the Keio Hai Spring Cup over 7 furlongs at Tokyo. Masatoshi Ebina, who won in 1999 with Air Jihad, is up.

Among other horses worth mentioning is Hong Kong’s Western Express. He’s on his first jaunt abroad and looking to become the fourth foreign raider to take part of the \238.6-million purse out of Japan (the winner gets \110 million). Western Express has yet to capture a top-level competition, but finished second in both the Hong Kong Mile and the Champions Mile. He is fielded by John Size, who has had 10 runners in the Yasuda to date. Hugh Bowman, who is in Japan on a short-term license and was expected to get the ride for Western Express, was suspended in last week’s Japanese Derby for nine days and will not be able to ride on Sunday. Sam Clipperton, a 24-year-old up-and-coming Australian rider based in Hong Kong, is expected to replace Bowman.

Improvement is expected for Aerolithe, who ran fourth in the May 13 Victoria Mile, her first mile since winning the NHK Mile Cup last year and her first race in three months. Moonquake deserves mention as well, a 5-year-old Admire Moon gelding that aced his first Grade 2 bid last out with a fleet final 3-furlong time of 33.2 seconds. He has two wins and two seconds over the mile at Tokyo.

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Pro Tipster MAX - provides racing tips in the competitive horseracing world, with completely transparent wins/losses -

Pro Tipster MAX is a service that allows you to buy the racing tips of elite Umanity professional tipsters--starting at just 100 yen/race. The racing tips of Umanity-approved professional tipsters aren't just symbols that indicate the outcome, but a proper racing tip that indicates the betting combination and how to allocate funds--racing tips whose wins/losses are completely transparent in this head-to-head world. That's a clear distinction from the racing tips of other sites, which do not publish their wins/losses.

Simply registering as a member (free) allows you to buy the racing tips of professional tipsters.

Last week Results

  • Highest Payout
  • Return Rate
Rank Tipster Race Payoff
1 Hahahafuhohoho Hahahafuhohoho
22 Jul Fukushima2R
7,920 633,600
2 Ikkun Ikkun
21 Jul Chukyo8R
51,150 511,500
3 Priest Ranzan Priest Ranzan
21 Jul Hakodate9R
19,940 386,200
4 Seiryu No.1 Seiryu No.1
21 Jul Hakodate9R
8,860 290,540
5 Ikkun Ikkun
22 Jul Fukushima3R
29,020 290,200

>>See more

Rank Tipster No.of
1 Hahahafuhohoho Hahahafuhohoho
72R 141% 8% 291,560 166,926
2 Priest Ranzan Priest Ranzan
70R 139% 45% 276,780 30,386
3 Shimoon Shimoon
72R 133% 13% 81,030 32,103
4 Okabe Okabe
6R 121% 50% 650 1,216
5 Sugadai Sugadai
60R 119% 46% 39,140 8,683
6 Saramappo Saramappo
12R 117% 16% 10,970 36,985
7 Ikkun Ikkun
72R 116% 4% 119,010 279,670
8 mayuka mayuka
72R 100% 58% 590 2,566

>>See more

Tip Coliseum --Japan's Biggest Racing Tips Arena! Are you Going to Compete? Or just Watch?

Over the course of a year, some 5 million racing tips are registered in the Tip Coliseum, Japan's largest and highest-level racing tip event. Different people use it in different ways--from participating in the tournament and competing for rankings, to watching the tips of top rankers.

Just registering as a member (free) allows you to use the functions of the Tip Coliseum for free.

 Tournament Info:Tournament 144 is currently being held!(14 Jul - 5 Aug)

Tournament 144 Latest result

Rank Tipster Level
Deviation Return
Royce Royce
83.5 569%
newRenaty newRenaty
82.1 554%
znstock znstock
80.8 376%
43d88cafe0 43d88cafe0
80.4 326%
cf625020d6 cf625020d6
79.8 277%

>>See more

To Beginners
--Smart Ways to Use Umanity--from Racing Tips to Horse Racing Romance--

Umanity offers all kinds of services to meet the different needs of racing fans, but on the other hand, some people feel "there are so many services, I don't know where to begin." For that reason, we introduce ways to use Umanity according to the type of user. We know you'll find a way that fits you perfectly♪

Data Cruncher

You are the type who assembles information useful for making tips, especially on high-stakes races, such as GI races, and refer to them as you make your own racing tips.
Suitable service

Graded race Page
U index

Recommend using!

[High Stakes Strategies] is packed with useful information for making racing tips, such as the latest information, like pre-race training times on the horses scheduled to run in high stakes races, the expected odds in the racing card, the columns of professional tipster, results from the past 10 years, etc. Then there is Umanity's proprietary racehorse performance index, the U-index, which many people pay to use for its accuracy; members can use it free, but just for high-stakes races, so using it in conjunction with the High Stakes Strategies makes for a perfect combo.

Racing Tip

Likes racing tips better than 3 squares a day! You're the type who makes tips on lots of races per day, not just the main ones!
Suitable service

Tip Coliseum
Race Info

Recommend using!

First off, try registering your tips in the [Tip Coliseum]. Of course there's the fun of competing for rankings and the racing tips bragging rights for all of Japan--but with our auto-tallying tools you can keep track of your results and bump up your racing prediction prowess through objective self-analysis. What's more, Umanity's [Racing Card (for VIP Club members)] is full of tools for increasing the accuracy of your tips, such as our proprietary speed index, the U-index, as well as “Stable Comments” and “Training Evaluation” and so on provided by Horseracing 8.


You see the horses as a vehicle for investing and you don't hold the your purse strings tight when it comes to high-quality information--you're looking for a high return!
Suitable service

Pro tipster "MAX"
Sugouma Robot

Recommend using!

With Pro Tipster MAX over 20 well-known professional tipsters provide their racing tips for a fee (from 100 yen/race). And their tips aren't just symbols that indicate the outcome, but proper racing tips that indicate the betting combination and how to allocate funds--racing tips whose wins/losses are completely transparent in this head-to-head world--a totally different critter from other horseracing tip sites, which only post their wins, but not the balance of wins/losses. The racing tips software [Sugouma Robot] is equipped with expected value theory for automatically buying only betting tickets with high expected yields.


You love the fun of horseracing with all your friends! You're the type who wants friends to go to the track with!
Suitable service

Horseracing Diary
offline get-togethers

Recommend using!

It's surprising how many people have nothing to say about horseracing on SNS, such as on Facebook. Umanity is a community just for horseracing fans, so don't hold back in talking about horseracing, such as in your Horseracing Diary. What's more, Umanity rents guest rooms at the Tokyo Race Course and holds horseracing offline get-togethers in both Spring and Fall. As these get-togethers are of like-minded horseracing fans, you're sure to make friends. Come along and have fun.


You're the type who wants to get into horseracing but you don't know where to start!
Suitable service

Graded race Page
Tip Coliseum

Recommend using!

First of all, you should try focusing on high-stakes races because you can get lots of information. [High Stakes Strategies] is packed with useful information for making racing tips, such as the latest information on the horses scheduled to run, the racing card, columns and results from the past 10 years. Next, try registering your tips in the [Tip Coliseum]. Simply registering a tip on a race will double the fun of watching them run. And up to this point it won't even cost you a single penny. You have nothing to lose as it's all free and you can take part in horseracing without betting any money.


More than for picking races or investing, you like horseracing because the horses are so beautiful! You're the type who wants to start as a partial owner!
Suitable service

Umanity POG

Recommend using!

[POG] stands for Paper Owner Game. Even though it's a virtual game, the horses are all real--several thousand JRA registered thoroughbreds. You select from among them and if your bid wins the auction, it's registered as your POG horse. You can keep up to 20 POG horses in your stable and the game is in competing for prize money with those horses. Apart from the game, pictures of about 400 race horses have been posted, and appreciating their beautiful bodies is one more pleasure.


Does it cost anything to use Umanity?

No, registering with and using Umanity is free. Once you become a member (free), you can participate in the Tip Coliseum, and use functions that are helpful in making tips, such as the U-index (Umanity's proprietary speed index) on high-stakes races, U-Favorites (tip odds ), which show what's popular among Umanity users, register horses to watch, betting ticket purchasing tools, etc.--not to mention enjoying horseracing community functions, such as diaries, messaging and circles--all the basics for free.

What do I have to do to register as a member?

Registering is simple--all it takes is an email address.
Once you register your email address, follow the instructions and you'll be registered as a member in 1 to 2 minutes flat! You can also register as a member via an account, such as your Yahoo! JAPAN ID.

Do I have to register to use the site?

No, some functions (such as news) can be used without registering.
However, most of the functions require becoming a member (free) and then you can use them for free, so we recommend becoming a member.
[Free Functions Available to Umanity Members]
-Participate in the Tip Coliseum (registering tips, rankings and auto tallying of results)
-U-index of high-stakes races (Umanity's proprietary racehorse performance index with some 10,000 regular users)
-U-Favorites (tip odds), which show what's popular among Umanity users
-Plus, functions useful for making tips, such as registering horses to watch and betting ticket purchase support
-Community functions like diaries, messaging and circles

Can I see racing tips for free?

There are both free tips and those you pay for.
You have to pay for the racing tips of professional tipsters.
Doing so requires the Umanity virtual currency, Gold (G).
Gold can be purchased with credit card.
Although you can view the racing tips of non-professional tipsters for "free," in some cases you need to use Umanity points, which you can get for free by being active on the site, such as by logging in, posting tips in the Tip Coliseum, etc.

What is the U-index?

It is an index developed exclusively by Umanity to indicate the performance of a racehorse.
The value is based on the time over the distance of each horse to date, and estimates whether and how well they will perform in this race; as such, the higher the index, the better the race performance is expected to be.
The U-index is provided to Umanity members free for high-stakes races. To use it on all races, you have to become a member of the Umanity VIP Club, which is a paid service.

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