Kent Desormeaux won the Kentucky Derby in 1998 and 2000, but in 2001 his best Derby hope may come on May 27 in the Japanese Derby at Tokyo racecourse. Desormeaux has agreed to ride in Japan on a three-month license from the Japan Racing Association, beginning on April 28, the date of a key trial race for the Japanese classic.
Like its ailing economy, racing in Japan is slumping. The Japan Racing Association reported a third consecutive year of declines in 2000 in both on-track attendance and total handle. With government-sanctioned wagering on soccer set to begin in Japan this year, 2001 promises to be a major challenge for the JRA.
English champion Warning, who started at stud at Khalid Abdullah's Banstead Manor Farm in England before being sold to the Japan Racing Association in 1996, died of acute heart failure at the Japan Bloodhorse Breeders' Association's Shizunai Stud.
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