Twelve hours after the historic 1-2 finish by Japanese horses Victoire Pisa and Transcend in the Dubai World Cup Sponsored by Emirates Airline (UAE-I), defending champion Kinshasa no Kiseki captured the 1,200-meter Takamatsunomiya Kinen (Jpn-I) by 1 1/4 lengths at Hanshin Racecourse March 27.
Ridden by Umberto Rispoli, Japan's 2010 champion sprinter Kinshasa no Kiseki became the first horse to win the race in back-to-back years. The Australian-bred horse was timed in 1:07.9 for the about six-furlong distance over firm turf to give his Italian rider his first Japanese grade I win.
In the aftermath of the powerfully destructive earthquake and tsunami that occurred in northeast Japan March 11, the Japanese Racing Association has canceled all race meetings at Nakayama Racecourse until April 17 and Fukushima Racecourse until April 24. In addition, all off-track betting facilities in eastern Japan, except Hokkaido, have been closed temporarily. Internet betting is operating normally.
All JRA races were canceled on the weekend of March 12-13, the first two days after the earthquake. Kokura and Hanshin racecourses resumed racing on the following weekend.
Until Nakayama reopens, most major graded events scheduled at Nakayama have been shifted to Hanshin, except for the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas), which will be held at Tokyo Racecourse April 24, a week later than the originally scheduled date. The Nakayama Grand Jump at Nakayama, as well as all races at Fukushima, have been suspended for the time being.
The 41st Takamatsunomiya Kinen took place as scheduled at Hanshin, however.
The field of 16, which consisted of veteran horses and up-and-coming runners, broke smoothly with third pick Kinshasa no Kiseki settling in midfield next to race favorite Jo Cappuccino, while Headliner rushed out to take the lead with second favorite Dasher Go Go pressing the pace.
Kinshasa no Kiseki advanced through the turn and entered the homestretch in third, within striking range of Dasher Go Go, who had inherited the lead at the top of the stretch. After a duel between Kinshasa no Kiseki and Dasher Go Go, who had beaten the defending champion in their last start, the 8-year-old son of Fuji Kiseki pulled away in the final 100 meters.
Noriyuki Hori trains the winner for owner Kazumi Yoshida. Arrowleave Joint Venture bred the bay, who is out of the Pleasant Colony mare Keltshaan.
San Carlo edged outsider Urbanity for second by a head. Dasher Go Go, who crossed the wire in fourth, was demoted to 11th for interfering with Jo Cappuccino, causing the race favorite to finish a disappointing 10th.
A portion of sales from all races held in March since the earthquake will be donated to disaster relief efforts. Also, the JRA has separately donated 100 million yen (about $1.25 million). Other initiatives being taken by fans, jockeys, owners, and trainers are raising additional funds for donation to relief efforts.