Coming off his victory in last year’s Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I), Transcend proved a popular winner of the February Stakes Feb. 20 at Tokyo Racecourse, tallying by 1 1/2 lengths in the first grade I event of the season.
Ridden by Shinji Fujita for trainer Takayuki Yasuda, the 5-year-old Japanese-bred son of Wild Rush completed the one-mile event in 1:36.4 over a fast track before an announced crowd of 53,584. Late-running Furioso finished second by a neck over Birdie Birdie.
After breaking evenly, Transcend immediately took to the front while Daishin Orange, Sei Crimson and Machikanenihombare raced in close pursuit. Although Transcend was under pressure entering the homestretch with Machikanenihombare by his side, the bay shook off all late challenges for his second grade I and fourth graded race victory overall in his 15 career starts.
Koji Maeda owns Transcend, who was bred by North Hills. He is out of the Tony Bin mare Cinema Scope.
Seven-year-old chestnut Furioso, who traveled near the rear most of the way, drove through the lane under Italian jockey Mirco Demuro from well behind to be second-best in the field of 16. The stalking Birdie Birdie had rallied down the middle of the straight to overtake Machikanenihombare in the last 100 meters but could not hold off Furioso in the final strides and settled for third.
Yasuda said afterward that he would be delighted if invited to race in the March 26 Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) at 2,000 meters.