Japan's reigning champion sprinter Lord Kanaloa uncoiled powerful strides on the uphill stretch at newly renovated Chukyo Racecourse and won the $2,195,000 Takamatsunomiya Kinen (Jpn-I) in course-record time March 24.
The 5-year-old son of King Kamehameha raced in mid-division early and willingly responded when called upon entering the stretch. He dispatched pacesetter Hakusan Moon 100 meters out and cruised clear to score by 1 1/4 lengths from late-closing Dream Valentino.
Lord Kanaloa covered 1,200 meters (about six furlongs) in a record 1:08.01 as the overwhelming 13-10 favorite under Yasunari Iwata. He emphatically improved upon his third-place finish in last year's edition of the race, Japan's first group I event of the season.
The victory marked the fourth consecutive win for Lord Kanaloa, who captured the 2012 Sprinters Stakes (Jpn-I) in a Nakayama course-record time from 2011 champion sprinter and stablemate Curren Chan. He followed up with a win in the Hong Kong Sprint (HK-I) at Sha Tin to cap the season and secure championship honors. Trained by Takayuki Yasuda, the bay horse opened 2013 with a win in the Hankyu Hai (Jpn-III) for owner Lord Horse Club. He became the first Japanese-trained horse to win three group I sprint races with his record-setting Takamatsunomiya Kinen win.
Dream Valentino, the 9-1 second choice, rallied furiously on the outside to nose out Hakusan Moon for second in the 17-horse field. San Carlo, runner-up in Takamatsunomiya Kinen in 2011 and 2012 and the third choice this year, was never a factor, finishing ninth.
Bred by K.I. Farm out of the winning Storm Cat mare Lady Blossom, Lord Kanaloa has 10 victories, four seconds, and a third from 15 career starts. His second dam is Saratoga Dew, who was the U.S. champion 3-year-old filly of 1992. He is a half brother to stakes-placed winner Lord Balius.
Lord Kanaloa is among 27 stakes winners, including 18 graded or group winners, from the first five crops of King Kamehameha, a 12-year-old son of Kingmambo who stands at Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido, Japan.