Runner-up in the first two jewels of Japan's Triple Crown earlier this year, regally bred Epiphaneia broke through for a classic win in smashing style in the Kikuka Sho (Jpn-I, Japanese St. Leger) Oct. 20 at Kyoto.
Hong Kong group I winner Rulership and dual Japanese classic winner Gold Ship look to be the early favorites for the Arima Kinen (Grand Prix) (Jpn-I), the Japan's biggest race and its season finale, on Dec. 22.
Orfevre, winner of Japan's Triple Crown, fell one vote short of being a unanimous choice for the Japan Racing Association's Horse of the Year title for 2011.
Aventura won her first grade I in the $2.1 million Shuka Sho at Kyoto Racecourse Oct. 16, celebrating her third victory in as many starts this season. The Shuka Sho is the third and final jewel of Japan's filly triple crown.
There were tears of joy everywhere at Meydan Racecourse for earthquake ravaged Japan after Victoire Pisa scored a stunning upset over Transcend to give the nation a one-two finish in the $10 million Dubai World Cup.
Victoire Pisa, a son of Neo Universe, posted his fourth graded stakes triumph when he took the lead at the top of the stretch and held off all challengers to win the (US$4.2 million) Arima Kinen (Jpn-I).
Odds-on favorite Victoire Pisa claimed the US$2.2 million Satsuki Sho (Jpn-I), Japan's equivalent of the Two Thousand Guineas, before 68,022 on a chilly spring day at Nakayama Racecourse April 18.
In a scene that has been played out on four continents over the past four years, Vodka, Japan's reigning Horse of the Year, had the fans at Tokyo Race Course cheering wildly as she barely held on to win the Nov. 29 Japan Cup (Jpn-I), joining other recent femme fatales Rachel Alexandra, Zenyatta, and Rags to Riches, Zarkava, Goldikova, and Makybe Diva.
Champion Japanese mare Vodka was too good once again, winning an action packed renewal of the final leg of the Asian Mile Challenge, the 59th running of the Yasuda Kinen (Jap-I) June 7 at Tokyo racecourse.
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.
The relentless Vodka, piloted by Yutaka Take, caught Daiwa Scarlett in the final stride to win the $2,448,000 Tenno Sho Autumn (Jpn-I) by a nose before 121,961 spectators at Tokyo Racecourse Nov. 2.
Vodka, winner of the 2007 Japanese Derby, ended a year-long win drought with a stunning 3 1/2-length win in the Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-I), the final leg of Asian Mile Challenge June 8 at Tokyo Racecourse.
Vodka ended a 63-year drought for fillies at the Japanese Derby (Tokyo Yushun) on Sunday, winning by three lengths ahead of the outsider Asakusa Kings.
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.
Making a huge statement for Japanese racing, Cesario demolished an international field of 3-year-old fillies in winning the $750,000 American Oaks (gr. IT) on the Hollywood Park grass Sunday.
Cesario, winner of Japanese Oaks (Jpn-I) in her last start on May 22, is scheduled to arrive at Hollywood Park Monday for the $750,000 American Oaks (gr. IT) on July 3, racing secretary Martin Panza said Friday.
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