Espoir City appeared on his way to a second February Stakes (Jpn-I) win Feb. 17 at Tokyo, but Grape Brandy wore him down in the final 100 meters to secure the win in Japan's first top-level race of the season.
Hiruno d'Amour completed a father-son double in the $3.2 million Tenno Sho Spring (Jpn-I) May 1 at Kyoto Racecourse, matching his sire Manhattan Cafe while landing his first grade I by a half-length over Eishin Flash.
Buena Vista failed in her bid to become the third winner of the Japanese filly Triple Crown on Sunday when she lost by a nose to second choice Red Desire in the $2 million Shuka Sho (Jpn-I) at Kyoto Race Course.
In a year with no consistent standout emerging to rally behind, the Kikuka Sho (St. Leger, Jpn-I) on Oct. 21 capped Japan's triple crown series with yet another surprise ending that left fans shaking their heads in dissatisfied disbelief.
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