Copano Richard blew past tiring pacesetter A Shin Top in the uphill stretch at Chukyo Racecourse and drew clear for victory in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen (Jpn-I) March 30.
His win in the 1,200-meter (about six-furlong) sprint was the first at the group I level for the 4-year-old son of Daiwa Major and his second straight in a group race, following a four-length romp in the 1,400-meter (about seven-furlong) Hankyu Hai (Jpn-III) March 2 at Hanshin.
Despite a wide draw from post 16 in the 18-horse field, multiple group winner A Shin Top shot to the early lead with Koshiro Take sliding him over to the rail, from where he opened a clear advantage. Mirco Demuro settled Copano Richard in a tracking position in fourth and took closer order around the turn.
A Shin Top was closing in on his first group I tally with a seemingly insurmountable lead in the stretch. But Copano Richard closed ground on the Tale of the Cat colt, who was running out of puff on the incline from his pacesetting efforts. Copano Richard easily passed in the final 100 meters and coasted to a three-length triumph in his breakthrough win.
Copano Richard, the 7-1 third favorite, was timed in 1:12.02 for the distance on soft turf. The race carried a purse more than $1.9 million.
"Today's distance was probably a little short for him but the ground helped us a lot," Demuro said after the race. "He's a very good horse, and this was a great win for him.
"The ground was very heavy when I worked him (March 26) and his reaction was very good, so I thought that there is a very good chance for him."
Straight Girl, the 2-1 favorite bidding for a third straight win, tracked from midfield in the opening stages, then went wide into the stretch to avoid a puddle of water from heavy rain the previous evening. The move most likely cost her second as, even though she was finishing fast, Snow Dragon was closing faster and caught her in the dying strides for second. Straight Girl was 1 1/4 lengths back in third.
Copano Richard campaigns for owner Sachiaki Kobayashi and trainer Toru Miya. His has won half of his 12 career starts that also include victories in the 2013 Arlington Cup (Jpn-III) at 1,600 meters (about one mile) and Mainichi Broadcast System Sho Swan (Jpn-II) at 1,400 meters.
Yanagawa Bokujo bred Richard Copano out of the unraced Tony Bin mare Hihashi Lynx. Notable members of the family include German champion Alshinfarah.
Richard Copano is from the second crop of two-time Japanese champion sprinter Daiwa Major, a 13-year-old son of Sunday Silence who stands at Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido, Japan.