Tosen Jordan partnered with Italian jockey Nicola Pinna to upset a strong field in the 2011 Emperor's Cup at Tokyo Racecourse Oct. 30 in record time. Defending champion and race favorite Buena Vista finished fourth.
In a powerful performance, the victorious Tosen Jordan, sent off as the seventh choice, eclipsed Vodka's 2008 record time by more than a second. The 5-year-old son of Jungle Pocket completed the 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) in 1:56.1 over firm going, the fastest-ever clocking for the distance in Japan.
Besides Buena Vista, Japan's defending Horse of the Year, the field for the Tenno Sho (Autumn), or Emperor's Cup, included six other grade I winners.
Tosen Jordan defeated second pick Dark Shadow by a half-length, with fast-closing Pelusa finishing third, another half-length behind. Buena Vista, the champion 5-year-old mare, was beaten by 1 3/4 lengths and remains winless in 2011.
The record-smashing effort brought trainer Yasutoshi Ikee his first Tenno Sho title and second grade I title in a week, following Orfevre’s dominating victory in the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) Oct. 23.
“I thought that he would have a better chance of winning if the race development required stamina rather than burst of speed," the trainer said. "So I was delighted when the pace became fast. I plan to challenge him in the Japan Cup then and the Arima Kinen (both Jpn-I).”
Takaya Shimakawa owns Tosen Jordan, who was bred by Northern Farm. The bay horse, a three-time winner at the grade II level since last year, is out of the Northern Taste mare Every Whisper.
Frontrunner Silport took the lead, as expected, and set a fast pace while five or six lengths ahead of Big Week and Earnestly, who led the remaining field in the backstretch. Buena Vista traveled in midfield toward the front with Dark Shadow shadowing the race favorite on the outside. Pinna settled Tosen Jordan in the back half of the pack in close pursuit behind the top two favorites.
As the field turned for home on the uphill climb, Eishin Flash hit the front with 300 meters to go, while To the Glory and Tosen Jordan also advanced from the outside. Buena Vista, finding room on the inside, followed suit with Dark Shadow also edging his way forward. With five horses breaking loose from the remaining pack around the 200-meter pole, Tosen Jordan gradually but powerfully pulled away and held off the tenacious challenge by Dark Shadow in the last furlong.
Sixth choice Pelusa, bidding from well back, closed much ground in the final three furlongs to overtake Buena Vista for third.
“Winning a grade I race had been my dream since I came to Japan so I am very happy now," Pinna said. "The horse ran a perfect race today. It was like maneuvering a machine. I thought that a longer distance would suit him better, so today’s fast pace suited him quite well and I was able to reserve him in the rear.”
Tosen Jordan has nine lifetime wins in 16 races.