Deep Impact Retired; Japanese Star Won 12 of 14 Starts

(from Japanese Racing Association report)
Deep Impact demolished a field of Japan's best horses to record his seventh grade I win and end his career on a tremendous high in the Arima Kinen Sunday over 2,500 meters at Nakayama racecourse.

In front of a huge crowd, many of whom had lined up for days before the gates opened, champion Japanese jockey Yutaka Take took Deep Impact, as usual, to the back of the field immediately after the start.

Admire Main led the field by a big ways until the final 800 meters when he was gradually overhauled. One of the first to move was third favorite Daiwa Major who had been second throughout most of the race. Meisho Samson tried to go with him. Second choice Dream Passport was sitting behind Pop Rock during the race but both had trouble getting into the clear at the top of the straight.

Meanwhile, Take had started his move on Deep Impact. The champ responded, certainly better than he did in this race last year when he suffered his only loss on Japanese soil, and possibly better than he ever had before. After beginning his run as the field began to round the final turn, Deep Impact hit the lead in a flash, and the race was over at the 200-meter mark. Daiwa Major battled away on the fence, and Pop Rock and Dream Passport challenged him. But Deep Impact was in a race of his own, and Take was able to ease him down after checking how far he was ahead over his shoulder on the big screen inside the racecourse.

The official margin was three lengths, with Pop Rock finishing well under Olivier Peslier to get second, three-quarters of a length ahead of Daiwa Major, who just held off the unlucky Dream Passport for third place by a nose.

Owned by Kaneko Makoto Holdings and trained by Yasuo Ikee, Deep Impact equaled the record for grade I wins for a Japanese trained horse.

This was the last race for the 4-year-old son of Sunday Silence (out of Alzao mare Wind In Her Hair), and after last year's shock when he was held off in the final straight by Heart's Cry, retires with a victory in Japan's biggest race on his resume. In total he raced 14 times with 12 wins and one second. The 180 million yen first prize Sunday takes his career winnings to approximately US$13 million.

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