Silent Witness suffered the second narrow defeat of his career when he finished third in the $2 million Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-I) Sunday at Fuchu Racecourse in Tokyo.
Asakusa Den'en won the one-mile event before a crowd of more than 75,000, holding off the closer Sweep Tosho by a neck with Silent Witness a short head back in third. Timed in 1:32.3, it was the second fastest running of the race, which is the second leg of the Asian Mile Challenge, in 20 years.
The Tony Cruz-trained gelding Silent Witness, the top-ranked turf sprinter in the world, had won the first 17 races of his career, all sprints, setting a modern-day record for consecutive victories. The streak ended with his first attempt at the mile distance when stable mate Bullish Luck defeated Silent Witness by a short head in the Champions Mile (HK-I) at Sha Tin on May 14. Bullish Luck finished fourth Sunday.
Silent Witness, ridden by Felix Coetzee, was under restraint while racing second most of the way. He overtook the leader Lohengrin two furlongs from home and pressed the advantage until tiring late.
"He ran a crackerjack race. He was very brave, he fought all the way and I'm very proud of him. Hong Kong can be very proud of that run too," said Silent Witness' owner, Archie da Silva, adding: "He will have a nice long break now and he will be back to sprints next season."
Cruz said Bullish Luck, who lost by two lengths, was not helped by a surface that was not as fast as what the 6-year-old usually experiences in Hong Kong.
Favored Telegnosis finished sixth.