Race favorite American-bred Symboli Kris S (Kris S.--Tee Kay, by Gold Meridian) answered fans expectations Nov. 2 with a record win of the fall version of the prestigious Emperor's Cup at Tokyo Racecourse. It was the first time in the race's 64-year history that a horse has won the fall version two years in a row, the third year in a row foreign-bred runners have topped the field.
Fourth pick Tsurumaru Boy (Dance in the Dark--Tsurumaru Girl, by Soccer Boy) made a bold stretch bid from behind on the far outside but was unable to catch Symboli Kris S. Tsurumaru Boy followed the winner over the finish line a length and a half later in second place, with Tenzan Seiza (Tony Bin--Casey, by Caerleon) and Eishin Preston (Green Dancer--Warranty Applied, by Monteverdi) in third and fourth place, respectively.
Frontrunners Lohengrin and Go Steady tore from the gate at breakneck speed putting a good 15 lengths between them and the rest of the members, none of which wanted to follow suit. French rider Olivier Peslier was able to move Symboli Kris S. smoothly from the far outside gate to within two widths of the rail, where he settled the eager-to-run Symboli Kris S. behind two others. "He needs others in front or he'll lose concentration," Peslier explained later.
Peslier's strategy helped to calm the dark bay giant. Into the stretch, Peslier asked for more and Symboli Kris S. "just flew," Peslier said, shaking his head in disbelief. The response shot the horse forward and to the front of the 18-strong field by the 200-meter mark, from where he cruised in to the roar of the crowd.
Trainer Kazuo Fujisawa, who notched his third Emperor's Cup win, praised the colt, saying he has matured considerably since last year, when his wins of the Emperor's Cup and the Arima Memorial gave him Horse of the Year status. "He lost weight after the spring of his 3-year-old year and it had me worried. But he's back physically and stronger mentally. He has learned to be patient now and we did not see the loss of concentration that we saw last year," Fujisawa said.
Fujisawa said he plans to run Symboli Kris S. in the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) on Nov. 30, followed by the Arima Memorial (Jpn-I). There is also talk of plans to race overseas next year.
Symboli Kris S., bred by owner Takahiro Wada, boosted his earnings to over ¥738 million with the ¥132 million for the Emperor's Cup, his record seven wins in 13 outings.
Symboli Kris S.'s winning time of 1:58.0 over 2,000 meters of turf tied the race record but will be recorded as the new record due to the recent renovation of the Tokyo course.
Symboli Kris S. gave Peslier his seventh group I race on the JRA circuit. Peslier has alone won half of the group I races captured by foreign-based jockeys riding in Japan.