The torch was passed from dirt champions Kane Hekili and Vermilion when Success Brocken edged Casino Drive by a neck in record time while winning the $2.2 million February Stakes (Jpn-I) before 70,000 at Tokyo Race Course Feb. 22.
Vodka, a 4-year-old filly who won two grade I stakes against horses of all ages and of both genders, became the first filly/mare to claim the Japan Racing Association's Horse of the Year title in 11 years.
Kane Hekili beat back the late charges of favored Vermilion and Meisho Tokon to win the $3 million Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) by a head in the first running of the event at Hanshin Racecourse Dec. 7. American hopes Frost Giant and Tin Cup Chalice finished 12th and 13th, respectively.
Favored Kane Hekili, the Japan Racing Association Dirt Horse of the Year in 2005, proved too strong for his rivals in Sunday's February Stakes (Jpn-I) held at Fuchu racecourse in Tokyo in front of a crowd of more than 60,000 people.
Deep Impact, the first colt to claim all three Triple Crown races while still undefeated since Symboli Rudolf 21 years ago, has been named the near-unanimous winner of the Japan Racing Association's 2005 Horse of the Year award, collecting 285 out of 291 votes.
Heavily favored Japanese-bred Kane Hekili emerged from a three-horse, head-bobbing finish to narrowly win the Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) over American-breds Seeking the Dia and Star King Man at Tokyo Race Course Saturday.
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