The host country may have the upper hand in both of the Japan Racing Association's grade I international fixtures, the Japan Cup and Japan Cup Dirt, at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday.
Favorite Admire Don, returning to the track for the first time since his near miss of the Nov. 29 Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I), powered to a half-length win of the February Stakes (Jpn-I) Feb. 22.
Fleetstreet Dancer, winless for the past year, fought back like a champion in the shadow of the finish line, coming back under jockey Jon Court at odds of 48-1 to shock odds-on favorite Admire Don and win the $2-million Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) by a nose at a drenched Tokyo race course on Saturday.
Japan Cup (Jpn-I) winner Jungle Pocket was voted Horse of the Year in Japan for 2001, a year in which wagering dropped for the fourth consecutive year and is at its lowest level in a decade.
Admire Don emerged as Japan's champion 2-year-old colt with a three-quarter-length win of the 1,600-meter Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (Jpn-I) at Nakayama Racecourse on Dec. 9. Unbeaten in his previous two starts, the son of Timber Country went postward a strong favorite in the 16-horse field of classic hopefuls for 2002.
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