Lord Kanaloa wins the Hong Kong Sprint.
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Lord Kanaloa wins the Hong Kong Sprint.
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Masakazu Takahashi

Lord Kanaloa Impresses in Career Finale

Japan's champion sprinter defends his title in Hong Kong Sprint Dec. 8 at Sha Tin.

Japan's champion sprinter Lord Kanaloa made it two straight wins in the Longines Hong Kong Sprint (HK-I), kicking clear at the top of the stretch and drawing off to a visually impressive five-length win over Irish runner Sole Power.

Frederick Engels finished third, a short head farther back, and Cerise Cherry ran fourth in the Dec. 8 race that was one of four group I events on the Hong Kong International Races card at Sha Tin Racecourse.

In the final race of his career, Lord Kanaloa, a 5-year-old son of King Kamehameha, added the Hong Kong double to his previous double victory in the Sprinters Stakes (Jpn-I), the premier sprint in his home country.

Lord Kanaloa heads to his second career at stud with 13 wins, five seconds, and one third from 19 starts for trainer Takayuki Yasuda.

With Yasunari Iwata up, Lord Kanaloa settled in mid-field early in Sunday's race. But he always appeared in control and responded immediately when asked for his run. The outcome was never in question once Iwata set him down for the drive.

Lord Kanaloa had telegraphed his fitness with a sizzling workout early in the week leading up to Hong Kong's biggest day of racing. Yasuda said he wanted to shake up his runner but he also telegraphed the impending sparkling performance.

Both trainer and jockey laughed when asked if they would like to see their star performer postpone retirement from the track.

"I am very, very, very sad," Yasuda said. "But he will make a great stallion and no doubt be very popular with Japanese breeders."

Among the disappointments in the race was Hong Kong's Lucky Nine, who won the Sprint in 2011 and finished second to Lord Kanaloa last year. He missed the start Sunday and was never a factor in the outcome.

British runner Jwala, winner of the Nunthorpe Stakes (Eng-I) at York this summer, broke down and fell in the final 100 meters of the race and later euthanized. Jockey Steve Drowne was taken to a local hospital but was reported to be conscious and moving his extremities.

The race was the final leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, which offered a bonus of US$1 million for any horse winning a leg in three different jurisdictions. The bonus went unclaimed as Lord Kanaloa ended the year short of one qualifying win.

Lord Kanaloa works in Hong Kong: