Logi Universe winning the Japan Derby.

Logi Universe winning the Japan Derby.

Naoji Inada

Logi Universe Takes Japan Derby

Second-choice Logi Universe takes the Japan Derby (Jpn-I).

(Edited Japan Racing Association press release)

Logi Universe won the 76th Tokyo Yushun (Japan Derby) May 31 and avenged his uncharacteristic heavy defeat in the first jewel in the Japan Triple Crown — the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, 2,000m).

The victory was his first grade I title and fourth graded stakes win overall. It was also the first Derby title in his 15th attempt for jockey Norihiro Yokoyama who, although already having won 15 grade I titles, had not claimed a grade I since winning the Tenno Sho Spring in 2004.

Sired by Neo Universe, winner of both the Satsuki Sho and the Tokyo Yushun during 2003, Logi Universe won four in a row since his debut as a 2-year-old leading up to his first grade I challenge in the Satsuki Sho, in which he started as the heavy favorite but finished a disappointing 14th. Many fans remained faithful to the gifted colt, and the bay was sent to post as second choice to Satsuki Sho winner Unrivaled, also a son of Neo Universe and the heavy favorite. Unrivaled came into the race with four wins and a third from five career starts.

Continuous rain during the past three days gave no chance for the turf track at Tokyo Racecourse to drain away any excessive water from its reputedly firm surface and with further heavy rainfall prior to the start of race, the surface was run over considerable soft going.

Despite the bad weather, over 110,000 fans were in attendance, including the Prime Minister Taro Aso, who was here for the winners circle ceremony.

All broke smoothly in a straight line with Jo Cappuccino quickly up front from stall nine with Reach the Crown following on his outside and Logi Universe hugging the rails in third position. Unrivaled also from a good break was settled well behind the pace around fifth from last and three wide.

Jo Cappuccino opened the gap to almost 10 lengths along the backstretch and passing the 1,000-meter marker in :59.9 over the deep going, as the rest of the field stretched out into a single file. Reach the Crown secured second position, three to four lengths in front of Logi Universe in third.

Rounding the third corner and approaching the final turn, Jo Cappuccino ran out of gas fast as the late runners started to close in for the attack and surrendered the lead to Reach the Crown with 600 meters to go. Antonio Barows also crept up from the outside after traveling around fifth position most of the way, but looming from the inside and level with the leader in the last 400 was Logi Universe, who had saved ample energy to dig in deep and draw off to a four-length victory with terrific force.

Reach the Crown held on just enough to hold off Antonio Barows by a head for second place while Nakayama Festa and Apres un Reve, from racing in the rear and mid-division respectively, made the board with their late charge along the outside.

Unrivaled was unable to live up to expectation in this race and had nothing to show after going wide around the last corner. He finished 12th in the 18-horse field.

Logi Universe is owned by Masaaki Kumeta and trained by Kiyoshi Hagiwara. The colt, bred by Northern Farm, earned ¥188,129,000 (US$1,974,237) for winning the Japan Derby and now has career earnings of ¥314,991,000 (US$3,305,535).

The final time was 2:33.70. The race record of 2:23.30 was set by King Kamehameha (by Kingmambo) in 2004.