Japan's first group I race of the year was won in fine style by Copano Rickey, who pulled off a massive upset with his half-length triumph over Hokko Tarumae in the February Stakes Feb. 23 at Tokyo Racecourse.
The hometown horses may hold a major edge in this year's Japan Cup (Jpn-I) Nov. 24. But that doesn't keep some world travelers from trying their luck in the world-class race worth nearly $6 million.
Zachary Purton, an Australian riding in Hong Kong, won the 2012 World Super Jockeys Series at Tokyo Racecourse Nov. 25.
American Winner, a $140,000 graduate of the 2010 Keeneland September yearling sale, won the Marvelous Jockeys Trophy on the Nov. 25 Japan Cup day card at Tokyo Racecourse.
In a battle between Triple Crown winners, Gentildonna became the first 3-year-old filly to win the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) when she took on favored Orfevre in a furious stretch duel and edged the older colt by a nose.
Though the U.S. doesn't have a representative in the Nov. 25 Japan Cup (Jpn-I) at Tokyo Racecourse, in a way it can claim Jakkalberry. The son of Storming Home won the inaugural American St. Leger at Arlington Aug. 18.
Many horsemen expect the Japan Triple Crown winner to prevail, but Gentildonna, Japan's filly triple crown winner of 2012, is also a threat.
Strong Return came from off the pace to capture the $2.6 million Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-I), Japan's spring championship event for turf milers, in record time at Tokyo Racecourse June 3.
Deep Brillante, a son of 2005 Japanese Triple Crown winner Deep Impact, fended off the late charge of Fenomeno to win the $3.9 million Tokyo Yushun (Jpn-I), or Japanese Derby, by a nose May 27 at Tokyo Racecourse.
Gentildonna romped to victory in the Yushun Himba (Jpn-I), or Japanese Oaks, in race-record time at Tokyo Racecourse May 20, giving the 3-year-old the first two jewels of the nation's Triple Crown for fillies.
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.
Undefeated Curren Black Hill produced an emphatic 3 1/2-length victory in the $2.3 million NHK Mile Cup (Jpn-I) as the favorite at Tokyo Racecourse to stake his claim as Japan's top 3-year-old miler.
Buena Vista, disqualified from first to second for interference in last year's Japan Cup (Jpn-I), found no such problems this year. The 5-year-old mare surged late to win the $6.1 million event Nov. 27 at Tokyo Racecourse.
Tosen Jordan partnered with Italian jockey Nicola Pinna to upset a strong field in the 2011 Emperor's Cup at Tokyo Racecourse Oct. 30 in record time. Defending champion and race favorite Buena Vista finished fourth.
Apapane spoiled Buena Vista's quest for a repeat success in the $2.2 million Victoria Mile (Jpn-I), taking the lead with 50 meters to run and holding off the the powerful charge of the favorite by a neck at Tokyo May 15.
Earthquake damage to Nakayama Racecourse has forced the rescheduling and relocation of Japan's first classic race, the Japanese 2000 Guineas (Jpn-I) to Tokyo Racecourse. The race will be run April 24 instead of April 17.
Coming off his victory in last year's Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I), Transcend proved a popular winner of the February Stakes Feb. 20 at Tokyo Racecourse, tallying by 1 1/2 lengths in the first grade I event of the season.
Jockey Ryan Moore from Great Britain captured his first World Super Jockeys Series title from Japan this year this year when he edged Australia's Craig Williams and Irish rider Johnny Murtagh at Tokyo Racecourse Nov. 27.
In what trainer Hiroyoshi Matsuda called her "best race ever" favored Buena Vista scored a two-length win in the Tenno Sho (Autumn). The 142nd running of the
Showa Modern produced the first grade I victory of his 39-race career when he captured the Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-I), final leg of the Asian Mile Challenge, in a race-record time at Tokyo Racecourse June 6.
Favored Danon Chantilly proved himself Japan's top 3-year-old miler with an impressive win in the 15th running of the NHK Mile Cup (Jpn-I), shaving a full second off the stakes mark at Tokyo Racecourse on May 9.
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.
The winner of the 27th edition of the Aug. 8 Arlington Million (gr. IT) will receive an automatic invitation to participate in the $5.6 million Japan Cup (Jpn-I) Nov. 29 at Tokyo Racecourse, it was announced by the Japan Racing Association.
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.
Admire Moon took the lead at the top of the stretch, and then hung on bravely while three rivals challenged from his outside, taking the $4.6-million Japan Cup (Jpn-I) by a head on Nov. 25 at Tokyo Racecourse.
Sunday Racing's Vermilion saved ground on the backstretch and accelerated past the leaders in the final furlong to win the $2.4-million Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) by 1 1/4 lengths on Nov. 24, in the process setting a new record on the Tokyo Racecourse main track.
Millennium Farms' Student Council, preparing for a start in the Nov. 24 Japan Cup Dirt at Tokyo Racecourse, worked a half-mile in :49 on the training track at the Quarantine Center at Shiroi, Japan, Nov. 17.
Hong Kong-trained Bullish Luck demolished a top field of Asian milers in the 56th running of the Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo Racecourse Sunday, and in the process earn a US$1 million bonus for the first time in the history of the recently established Asian Mile Challenge series.
Japanese-bred Tsurumaru Boy, ending an 11-race losing streak, won the $1.6 million Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo Racecourse Sunday, as multiple grade I winner Island Fashion faded to finish 16th.
King Kamehameha demolished Saturday's $3 million Japan Derby (Jpn-I) field, his time taking two full seconds off the stakes record before a crowd of 120,000 at Tokyo Racecourse.
- By Ray Paulick
By Ray Paulick -- Considering the shortage of horse owners in the U.S., maybe it's time to emulate the successful racing clubs that are popular in Japanese racing.
The Thoroughbred Corporation's Johar, dead-heat winner of the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), heads a contingent of six U.S. horses for which invitations have been accepted for the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) and Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) Tokyo Racecourse.
The Thoroughbred Corporation's Johar, dead-heat winner of the John Deere Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT), heads a contingent of five U.S. horses for which invitations have been accepted for the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) and Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) Tokyo Racecourse.
Siberian Meadow, a juvenile son of Meadowlake, remained undefeated in three starts when he scored a one-length triumph over favored Agnes Sonic (by Unbridled's Song) in the Keio 2-Year-Old Stakes (Jpn-II) at Tokyo Racecourse.
Nobo True, a Kentucky-bred son of Broad Brush, posted his first grade I victory when he won Sunday's February Stakes (Jpn-I) at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday. The 5-year-old horse ran the mile over a good main track in 1:35.6, defeating Wing Arrow by 1 1/4 lengths.
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