Real Impact and Keita Tosaki take the Yasuda Kinen.<br><a target="blank" href="">Order This Photo</a>

Real Impact and Keita Tosaki take the Yasuda Kinen.
Order This Photo

Naoji Inada

Real Impact Surprises in Japan's Yasuda Kinen

He upsets Apapane, becomes first 3-year-old to win final leg of Asian Mile Challenge.

Real Impact became the first 3-year-old to win the Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-I), the final leg of the Asian Mile Challenge, when he upset the brilliant filly Apapane in the $2.4 million race at Tokyo Racecourse June 5.

With Keita Tosaki aboard for trainer Noriyuki Hori and owner U. Carrot Farm, the Deep Impact colt edged clear in the final furlong of the left-handed one-mile test and held off Strong Return by a neck. Hori also saddled the runner-up.

"It was overwhelming to see both my runners became the first two runners to hit the wire," Hori said. "As for Real Impact, to be honest, I wasn’t exactly too sure whether the three-year-old colt was up to face competition at this level. Perhaps the advantage of carrying less weight and being still fresh coming off only two starts this season have helped, in addition to his potential ability, to win this race."

Fast-closing Smile Jack finished a half-length farther back in third. Apapane, who defeated Japan's 2010 Horse of the Year Buena Vista in the Victoria Mile (Jpn-I) over the same course last month, rallied belatedly after dropping back in upper stretch and settled for sixth. The 4-year-old King Kamehameha filly was gunning for her sixth grade I victory.

Before an announced crowd of 65,779, Real Impact covered the 1,600 meters (about one mile) in 1:32 flat over a firm turf course.

Tosaki camped Real Impact, the ninth choice in a field of 18, right behind Silport who immediately sprinted to the front. Strong Return saved ground in mid-pack with Smile Jack traveling a length farther behind down the backstretch. As the field headed for the final turn, Silport opened his lead to two lengths over Jo Cappuccino, who moved up to press the pace in second with Real Impact another two lengths from that.

Jo Cappuccino and Real Impact closed in quickly on the uphill stretch to make it a three-horse-battle, with Real Impact gradually getting control before the furlong pole. Strong Return, making the most of his ground-saving trip, kicked home with a good drive but came up short in second while Smile Jack threaded his way to the outside to secure third in the Yasuda Kinen for the second straight year.

Bred by Northern Racing from the Meadowlake mare Tokio Reality, Real Impact ran second in last year's Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (Jpn-I). He was third in the NHK Mile Cup (Jpn-I) March 29 at Tokyo.

Two Hong Kong-based entrants bred in New Zealand, Beauty Flash and Thumbs Up, finished ninth and 11th respectively.