A lengthy inquiry resulted in disqualification of the winner of the $5.8 million Japan Cup (Jpn-I) on Nov. 28 when favored Buena Vista was moved down to second and Rose Kingdom was declared the winner.
Favored by the crowd of 106,322 at Tokyo Racecourse, Buena Vista rallied in the straight under jockey Christophe Soumillon to pass leader Victoire Pisa and post a popular 1 ¾-length victory over a closing Rose Kingdom, the 2009 champion 2-year-old colt in Japan ridden by top Japanese jockey Yutaka Take. Final time for 2,400 meters (about 1 ½ miles) on turf was 2:25.2.
But the jubilation was short-lived. After a 24-minute inquiry, the stewards disqualified Buena Vista for interference in the stretch. The top two finishers are both owned by the same entity, Sunday Racing Company, although Rose Kingdom is trained by Kojiro Hashiguchi and Hiroyoshi Matsuda trains Buena Vista.
Officials found that Soumillon, after rounding wide into the stretch aboard Buena Vista, urged her strongly with a right-handed whip with about 200 meters left, causing her to duck inward. Running to her inside was Rose Kingdom, who had Victoire Pisa coming toward her on her inside. In a tight spot, Take was forced to take up Rose Kingdom. They placed Buena Vista second. Victoire Pisa, who finished a nose behind Rose Kingdom, was kept in the third spot.
“To be honest, I have mixed feelings about this race,” Hashiguchi said of the outcome. “Being bumped a few times didn’t faze him, and he put in another effort even after that to finish second. He’s always had guts but the determination he showed today was amazing.”
Take said: “We had a clear path going up the hill and just when we were about to hit the accelerator, we were bumped two or three times from the outside and inside. In any case, he finished strongly.”
Japanese horses took down the top eight positions in the 18-horse field, with the best performance by a foreign runner coming from French-based Cirrus des Aigles, who ran ninth. There were no U.S.-based horses in the race.
A 3-year-old son of King Kamehameha—Rosebud, by Sunday Silence, Rose Kingdom previously won the Kobe Shimbun Hai (Jpn-II) and Asahi Hai Futurity, and was second in the Japanese Derby (Jpn-I) and Japanese St. Leger (Jpn-I).