The first classic race in Japan to be run since the devastating earthquake and tsunami took place at Tokyo Racecourse on April 24 when the Satsuki Sho (Jpn-1), or Japanese Two Thousand Guineas, was won by Sunday Racing’s Orfevre, a son of Stay Gold bred by Shadai Corporation.
The Japan Racing Association reported 80,940 fans on hand for the first time the opening leg of the Japan Racing Association’s Triple Crown was run at Tokyo since 1988. The race was originally to be held at Nakayama Racecourse, which along with Fukushima remains closed.
In the $2.3 million race for 3-year-olds run at 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles), the winner went to the outside and unleashed a strong move in the final 200 meters to cruise to a three-length triumph over favored Sadamu Patek in the field of 18 Japanese-bred colts. The fourth choice, Orfevre, was timed in 2:00.6 over firm going.
Kenichi Ikezoe rode Orfevre for trainer Yasutoshi Ikee. A lifetime winner of three of seven starts, Orfevre registered his first grade I triumph.
The JRA reported that Tokyo and Niigata racecourses were now operating, with all but one off-track betting operation having also resumed business. In an effort to conserve electricity, betting tickets were sold only for the 7th-12th races when the betting operations started, but now they will be sold on all races going forward.
Also, to help with the funding of disaster relief operations, the JRA has introduced nationwide online wager called the WIN5, in which bettors attempt to select the winners of five races. A portion of the turnover from WIN5 wagers will be turned over for disaster relief until the end of June as part of the JRA’s support for recovery in the Tohoku area.