Pants On Fire

Pants On Fire

Reed Palmer Photography, Churchill Downs

Pants On Fire Arrives for Japan Cup Dirt Bid

American runner would be the first foreign contender in $3 million race since 2009.

American runner Pants On Fire arrived at Narita International Airport east of Tokyo Nov. 15 for his scheduled bid in the $3 million Japan Cup Dirt (Jpn-I) at Hanshin Racecourse.

Pants On Fire would be the first international competitor to race in the 1,800-meter (about 1 1/8 miles) event since Tizway participated in 2009. The 14th renewal of the Japan Cup Dirt is Dec. 1 at Hanshin, west of Osaka.

Coming off a seventh-place finish in the Breeders' Cup Dirt MIle (gr. I) Nov. 1, Pants On Fire arrived at the JRA Horseracing School quarantine facilities at 1:45 p.m. in Japan.

"The trip from California to here took about 24 hours all around," groom James Douglas Homewood said. "He's used to long hauls though, so even though he's a little bit tired it's not a problem."

Homewood also said there were no instructions in particular from trainer Kelly Breen but "basically he said, 'Go and have fun!' " As for Pants on Fire's training leading up to the Dec. 1 Japan Cup Dirt, Homewood said, "We'll decide that as we go, checking how he's doing."

The 5-year-old Kentucky-bred Pants on Fire is by Jump Start  out of the Cape Town mare Cabo de Noche. Pants on Fire is owned by George and Lori Hall and was bred by K & G Stables.

Pants On Fire has had one workout since the Breeders' Cup, posting a handy half-mile in :48 flat Nov. 11 at Santa Anita Park.

From 23 starts, Pants on Fire has notched eight wins, including the Louisiana Derby (gr. II) in 2011. Prior to the Breeders' Cup, the dark bay horse captured the Monmouth Cup (gr. II) and Ack Ack Handicap (gr. III) at Churchill Downs in succession.

Pants On Fire has enjoyed a solid season in 2013, winning three of seven starts with three thirds. The Monmouth Cup win in July was the first in a graded stakes for Pants On Fire since he won the Pegasus Stakes (gr. III) and Louisiana Derby in his 3-year-old year.

The Japan Cup Dirt has only been won by a foreign-based runner once, by the Doug O'Neill-trained Fleetstreet Dancer in 2003.