Showa Modern produced the first grade I victory of his 39-race career when he captured the Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-I), final leg of the Asian Mile Challenge, in a race-record time at Tokyo Racecourse June 6.
The eighth choice in the field of 18, the 6-year-old Showa Modern grabbed the lead in the final 100 meters for jockey Hiroki Goto en route to a half-length victory over Super Hornet in the 60th running of the Yasuda Kinen. He completed the 1,600 meters in 1:31.7 on firm going before a reported crowd of 63,968. The former race record of 1:32.1 was established by Agnes Digital in 2003.
Goto, 36, won his second Yasuda Kinen with Showa Modern, a son of Air Jihad who had shown his best form on soft ground.
"The weather may have been too good but his last race was great so I had a lot of confidence," Goto said in reference to Showa Modern's win in the Lord Derby Challenge Trophy (Jpn-III). "Everything went as I imagined it would. It all went just perfectly.”
Showa Modern raced in mid-pack as A Shin Forward led the field at a medium pace while closely tracked by Captain Thule and Triumph March. As horses bunched across the course in the stretch, Showa Modern burst through to get the lead, overtaking Smile Jack, who had gotten the advantage after A Shin Forward yielded.
Late-closing Super Hornet's bid landed him second by a head over Smile Jack while coming up a bit short of the winner at the wire.
A week earlier, Goto had failed to catch the winner in a second-place finish aboard Rose Kingdom in the Tokyo Yushun (Jpn-I), or Japanese Derby. It was a lesson that stayed with him, he said.
“I still had bad memories of last week and remembering just how long the homestretch had been," Gato said. "Even though everything felt good today, I kept thinking, ‘I have to keep pushing, I have to keep pushing. I can’t give up.’”
Second choice Triumph March was a half-length back in fourth, nipping Sight Winner, one of three in the race shipping in from Hong Kong. Race favorite Reach the Crown maintained a forward position but faded to 14th by the wire.
Showa Modern is trained by the Hiroaki Sugiura. Out of the Tony Bin mare Yume Shibai, the bay horse was bred at the Teruya Yoshida-owned Shadai Farm in Hokkaido. Owned by Keiichi Yamagishi, Showa Modern is now a 10-time winner.