Overwhelming race favorite Saturnalia won this year’s Satsuki Sho to register two consecutive G1 victories following the year-end Hopeful Stakes. Unbeaten in all his for starts since his debut last year, the son of Lord Kanaloa and out of Cesario became the 17th unbeaten colt to claim the Satsuki Sho since Deep Impact in 2005. Trainer Katsuhiko Sumii claimed his 25th JRA-G1 title following his win in the 2017 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) with Kiseki and his second Satsuki Sho victory following his win with Victoire Pisa in 2010. This win marked jockey Christophe Lemaire’s 24th JRA-G1 win following the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) title with Gran Alegria just last week. He became the ninth jockey in JRA history to have won all five classic titles for three-year-old colts and fillies.
Breaking smoothly from stall 12, Saturnalia settled in mid-division, around ninth from Lance of Puraana who set a moderate pace. Traveling wide behind Velox, the son of Lord Kanaloa closed the gap between the frontrunners turning the last two corners and surged out behind Velox after entering the lane. With four horses rallying to take the front at the 200-meter pole, Saturnalia, Velox and Danon Kingly continued to maintain strong speed in the last 100 meters to launch a fierce rally up to the wire with Saturnalia managing to come home a head in front.
“I rode him for the first time in the race but I had confidence in him. He seemed a bit nervous and drifted towards the inside when we took command before the crowd. His condition was not 100% as it was his first start this year but he should be in top condition going into the Japanese Derby,” commented Christophe Lemaire.
Fourth choice Velox traveled two wide in striking position, around 5-6th from the front. The son of Just a Way was the first to enter the lane and while falling back to third in the three-horse rally, found another gear in his last strides to beat Danon Kingly by a nose for second place.
Third favorite Danon Kingly broke sharply and settled fourth from the front while taking an economic trip by the rails. The Deep Impact colt met traffic entering the lane but found a narrow space between horses, unleashed a powerful charge from the inside to launch a fierce rally with the eventual winner and runner-up and, though taking the front at one point, was a head and a nose short at the wire to finish third.
4th: (1) Admire Mars—raced towards front, switched to outside for clear path, no match for top 3 finishers
5th: (6) Courageux Guerrier—traveled inside winner, quickened in last 200m, belatedly
6th: (16) Tagano Diamante—settled 2nd from rear, advanced after 3rd corner, showed belated charge
7th: (11) Last Draft—ran behind winner, angled out, even paced at stretch
8th: (17) Admire Justa—sat 3rd from rear along rails, accelerated between horses, belatedly
9th: (14) Daddy’s Mind—stalked leader in 2nd, led briefly at early stretch, weakened in last 200m
10th: (18) Naimama—positioned towards rear, circled wide, passed tired rivals
11th: (13) Breaking Dawn—saved ground in mid-group, met traffic 200m out, lost momentum
12th: (10) Schwarz Riese—took economic trip in mid-division, lacked needed kick
13th: (3) Fantasist—hugged rails in mid-pack, never fired at stretch
14th: (2) Satono Lux—raced 3-wide in mid-group, found little room at early stretch, never threatened
15th: (9) Meisho Tengen—trailed in rear, unable to reach contention
16th: (15) Kurino Gaudi—chased leaders in 3rd, ran out of steam at stretch
17th: (8) Nishino Daisy—traveled 3-wide in mid-division, outrun after 3rd corner
18th: (5) Lance of Puraana—set pace, faded after final corner