Beat Black wins the Tenno Sho Spring

Beat Black wins the Tenno Sho Spring

Kate Hunter

Beat Black Scores Major Upset in Tenno Sho

Winner sent off at 159-1 odds at Kyoto; Japanese Triple Crown winner Orfevre 11th.

Longshot Beat Black defeated a powerful field that included 2011 Horse of the Year and Triple Crown winner Orfevre in the marathon $3.4 million Tenno Sho Spring (Jpn-I) at Japan's Kyoto Racecourse April 29.

Sent off at 159-1 odds as the 14th choice in the 18-horse, Beat Black used his forward speed to get the lead with a half-mile to run and held off all late comers for a four-length victory. Beat Black, a 5-year-old son of Miscast, ran the 3,200 meters (about two miles) in 3:13.8 over firm turf, slightly off the stakes mark of 3:13.4 established by Deep Impact in 2006.

The Japanese Racing Association reported an attendance of 80,613 at Kyoto.

Jockey Syu Ishibashi landed his first grade I win aboard Beat Black, who is trained by Hitoshi Nakamura for owner Koji Maeda. North Hills Management bred the winner in Japan. The black horse is out of Alarm Call, by Brian's Time.

Race favorite Orfevre broke smoothly from the outermost stall but was eased back by Kenichi Ikezoe and never produced his powerful late kick while finishing in a dead heat for 11th. Coupled with a temperamental performance in his first start of the year, in which he finished second, his trainer Yasutoshi Ikee said that the colt’s planned entry in this year’s Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) will have to be carefully reviewed.

Beat Black, earning his first graded victory, defeated four other grade I winners as well while winning for the first time in more than a year. Now with six wins in a 28-race career, he ran second in last year's Kyoto Daishoten (Jpn-II) and was third in the 2010 Kikuka Sho, or Japanese St. Leger (Jpn-I). He came off a 10th-place finish in the Hanshi Daishoten (Jpn-II) at 3,000 meters prio to the Tenno Sho.

Tosen Jordan, attempting to become only the sixth horse to complete the Tenno Sho Spring-Autumn double after his victory last fall, finished second as the third choice in the field. He was two lengths clear of second favorite Win Variation.