Lord Kanaloa stormed to a course record-setting victory at Nakayama Racecourse on Sept. 30, taking the Sprinters Stakes (Jpn-I) by three-quarters of a length from defending winner and stablemate Curren Chan.
Fighting a stiff crosswind from approaching Typhoon Jelawat, Lord Kanaloa uncoiled a strong rally from midpack in the 16-horse field and overhauled Curren Chan in the final 100 yards to win the six-furlong turf race in a sizzling 1:06.70.
With the victory, trainer Takayuki Yasuda achieved a one-two finish and a consecutive Sprinters Stakes win after Curren Chan's triumph last season.
Dream Valentino finished third, a neck behind Curren Chan, last season's champion sprinter and miler.
Hong Kong-based Little Bridge, winner of the King's Stand Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot in June and making his first start since, could not withstand the swift pace in the stretch and finished 10th.
Third to Curren Chan in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen (Jpn-I) in his group I debut in March, Lord Kanaloa was second by a head in the Centaur Stakes (Jpn-II) on Sept. 9 in his previous race.
Jockey Yasunari Iwata said the hot pace Sept. 30 worked to the benefit of Lord Kanaloa, who scored an emphatic breakthrough win at the group I level as the 4-1 second choice.
"Thankfully for us, the race ran at a very fast pace, making it easier for us to get into the flow of overtaking the early leaders," he said. "Curren Chan was right in front of me during the whole trip, so it was only natural for us to surge together and rally side-by-side in the final stage—at this point, I knew that I still had a lot of horse beneath me and was confident that (the stable) got hold of the title."
Lord Kanaloa, a 4-year-old King Kamehameha colt, has finished in the top three in each of his 12 lifetime starts, winning seven times while placing second four times and third once.