Knocking on the door for a grade I victory since she was 2, Whale Capture broke through in her sixth attempt May 13, winning Japan's Victoria Mile by a half-length at Tokyo Racecourse.
Last year's Japanese sprint champion Curren Chan returned to form March 25 when she captured the $2.47 million Takamatsunomiya Kinen (Jpn-I) at newly renovated Chukyo Racecourse by a neck over San Carlo.
Favored Sleepless Night scored a sharp 1 1/4-length victory in Japan's $1.76 million Sprinters Stakes (Jpn-I) at Nakayama Racecourse Oct. 5, for her fifth consecutive victory.
Arrowfield Stud in Australia announced that Japanese champion Kurofune will join its stallion roster for the 2003 Southern Hemisphere season.
Bella Bellucci drew off in the stretch to win Sunday's $108,200 Comely Stakes (gr. III) by seven lengths, completing the one-turn mile in 1:35.50 on the fast track. The full sister of Japanese champion 3-year-old Kurofune will make her next start in the Kentucky Oaks.
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.
Kurofune, the Kentucky-bred son of French Deputy who captured the second running of the Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) in spectacular fashion last month, has been retired to stud after suffering a tendon injury to his right foreleg. The gray 3-year-old colt will join his sire, who was purchased from Three Chimneys Farm one year ago, at the Yoshida family's Shadai Stallion Station on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.
American-bred Kurofune showed on Saturday why some Japanese racing fans are calling him a "superhorse," as the 3-year-old gray colt by French Deputy galloped to an impressive seven-length victory in the second running of the $2-million Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) at Tokyo race course.
Trainer Robert Frankel would rather be in Kentucky, sending Lido Palace out against reigning Horse of the Year Tiznow in the $400,000 Clark Handicap (gr. II) at Churchill Downs. But with Tiznow retired to stud, the Hall of Fame conditioner is content to be in Tokyo, Japan, taking a shot at the $2-million purse in the second running of the Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) on Saturday.
The United States will have a strong contingent of seven horses at this year's Japan Cup (Jpn-I) and Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) invitational races at Tokyo racecourse next Saturday and Sunday, Nov. 24-25, including horses trained by Hall of Fame conditioners Jonathan Sheppard, Neil Drysdale, Richard Mandella, and Robert Frankel.
Pedigree Analysis for Bella Bellucci
Kurofune and Grass Eiko O, both 3-year-old sons of French Deputy, finished first and second, respectively, Sunday in the NHK Mile (Jpn-I) at Tokyo Racecourse. The winner, trained by Kunihide Matsuda for owner Makoto Kaneko, completed the mile on grass in 1:33.
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