Orfevre won the 2012 Takarazuka Kinen. <br><a target="blank" href="http://photos.bloodhorse.com/AtTheRaces-1/at-the-races-2012/22274956_jFd5jM#!i=1925588634&k=6mNfqNp">Order This Photo</a>

Orfevre won the 2012 Takarazuka Kinen.
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Kate Hunter

Orfevre Out of Takarazuka Kinen

Japanese Triple Crown winner of 2011 was favored in defense of group I tally June 23.

Orfevre, expected favorite in his title defense in the June 23 Takarazuka Kinen (Jpn-I), was withdrawn from the race after the 2011 Triple Crown champion bled following training June 13.

With jockey Kenichi Ikezoe aboard during the half-mile workout up the Ritto hill course, Orfevre was timed in 52.5 seconds, with a 12.5-second final 200 meters (eighth of a mile). Orfevre was discovered to have bled from his lungs, a common affliction known as exercise-induced pulmonary hemorrhage, or EIPH.

"He seemed different this morning after a fast work one week out, so we had him scoped and it was determined that he suffered bleeding in his lungs," trainer Yasutoshi Ikee said. "It wasn't enough to force him out of the race but I decided that it wasn't possible to maintain him in top condition with only a little more than a week left to the race. With these conditions, I decided it best to sit this race out."

According to the Japan Racing Association, the lineup of this year's Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin Racecourse was expected to be one of the strongest ever, with three fans favorites in Orfevre, Gold Ship, and Gentildonna.

The Takarazuka Kinen runners are chosen in part by fan ballot and Orfevre had netted the No. 1 spot with more than 75,000 votes. Gold Ship was second with upward of 57,000 votes, while Gentildonna, who captured the Filly Triple Crown as well as the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) last year, took the No. 3 spot for fan support.

"I hadn't expected (Orfevre) to win No. 1 in the ballot count, and I very much wanted to be able to have the fans who supported him see him in all his magnificence," Ikee said. "But, with conditions as they are, I knew that he would not be running at his best and made the decision to withdraw."

Orfevre had also been expected to contest the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) again this fall, but plans for the race, in which he finished second last year, are now on hold. "As for plans from here on out," Ikee said, "they are all back to the drawing board. I will be discussing them with the owners while observing the horse's condition."

A son of Stay Gold racing for Sunday Racing Co., 5-year-old Orfevre has won or placed in 16 of 18 starts, with 10 victories and converted earnings of $15,464,470.