Eishin Flash stormed from mid-pack to upset the field in the $3.5 million Tokyo Yushun (Jpn-I), or Japanese Derby, before a crowd of 125,746 at Tokyo Racecourse May 30.
With jockey Hiroyuki Uchida aboard, Eishin Flash, the third-place finisher in the Satsuki Sho (Jpn-I), or Japanese Two Thousand Guineas, overcame a slow pace to defeat 2-year-old champion Rose Kingdom by a neck as the seventh choice in the 17-horse field.
Eishin Flash, a 3-year-old son of King's Best--Moonlady, by Platini, gave both Uchida and trainer Hideaki Fujiwara a first win in the Tokyo Yushun while completing the 2,400 meters (about 1 1/2 miles) in 2:26.9 over firm going.
Rose Kingdom finished second by 1 3/4 lengths over the 2-1 favorite Victoire Pisa, the April 18 Satsuki Sho victor.
Eishin Flash, breaking from the rail slot, fell into mid-field early on the inside and Uchida waited patiently for the opportunity to make a move. After tracking the leaders for the three-quarters of the race, Eishin Flash found a narrow opening between rivals near the head of the homestretch. He turned in a blistering final 600 meters in 32.7 seconds.
With five horses in position to win 200 meters out, it was Rose Kingdom who emerged with the lead. But Eishin Flash collared Rose Kingdom with 100 meters left and prevailed in the final strides.
Aliseo, Cosmo Phantom, and Meisho Uzushio were bunched in front early. Second choice Pelusa, who went to the gate unbeaten in four starts, suffered a late break and eventually finished sixth after rallying from near the rear of the big field.
Victoire Pisa had better luck under Yasunari Iwata, staying nearer the front, where he was able to hold on for third place.
Though the result was not a popular one with the crowd, Uchida, 39, let nothing spoil his moment, shaking his fist repeatedly in triumph. Japan's leading jockey in 2009, he missed two months this year with an injury and had not returned to his previous performance level.
“I’d had a lot happen this year and my body just wouldn’t do what I asked it to,” Uchida said. “I felt bad for the fans and am glad I can finally give them some good results. I hope that I can continue to give them the kind of results they expect of me.”
Of Eishin Flash, Uchida said: “There was no reason to move him forward early. I knew there were very good horses in front so wasn’t worried about getting caught behind a wall. I knew he had what it took to turn in a good finish.”
The winning dark bay colt was bred at Shadai Farm in Hokkaido and is owned by Toyomitsu Hirai. Eishin Flash has now won four of seven races, including the Keisei Hai (Jpn-III) earlier this year.