Victoire Pisa, a son of Neo Universe, posted his fourth stakes triumph when he took the lead at the top of the stretch and held off all challengers to win the US$4.2 million Arima Kinen (Jpn-I) at Japan’s Nakayama Racecourse on Dec. 26.
The race, contested at about 12.5 furlongs on turf, is the final graded race of the Japanese racing season, with the participants selected on the basis of a fan poll, making it an “all-star” event attended by 120,213.
Tosen Jordan took the early and established a slow pace while being trailed by longshot To the Glory. Heavy favorite Buena Vista, also the top vote-getter by the fans, was patiently settled into mid-pack. As the field spread out down the backstretch, Victoire Pisa gradually improved position and drew even with Tosen Jordan.
Once assuming command at the top of the homestretch, Victoire Pisa, trained by Katsuhiko Sumii, exerted a tenacious kick, fending off the charges by To the Glory and Pelusa in the last furlong when Buena Vista closed in with her powerful charge from the outside. Buena Vista finished a nose behind the winner, followed by To the Glory.
“I am not sure yet about his future plans on whether he will travel abroad again or not—but it is a likely option,” Sumii said of the winner, who had a campaign in France earlier this year. “I’m just happy to be able to train such an amazing horse.”
“He had a good start, like he always does, and was in a nice position,” jockey Demuro said. “At the backstretch, I made a quick move because I saw some horses coming from behind me and I didn’t want to be in the pocket. When I passed the horses, the pace became slow again. The distance might have been a bit too long for him, but since the pace was slow, I was able to position him in good striking position. The trainer asked me to do the fast move so that the horse could be positioned well. The race was so exiting. I won the Derby and the Japan Cup, and winning the Arima has been my dream. Victoire Pisa is a fantastic horse and has a good heart. I’m fortunate to have had the opportunity, along with the other foreign jockeys, to be given a good mount.”
Victoire Pisa, owned by Yoshimi Ichikawa, won the Japanese Two Thousand Guineas (Jpn-I) in April and then finished third in both the Japanese Derby (Jpn-I) and Japan Cup (Jpn-I). The colt was then unplaced in two races in France, including a seventh in the Grand Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I).
Victoire Pisa previously won the Satsuki Sho (Jpn-I), Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho (Jpn-II), and Radio Nikkei Hai Nnisai Stakes.