Japanese Stars Work for Hollywood Stakes

(from Hollywood Park notes)
Japanese invaders Dance in the Mood and Asahi Rising worked five furlongs in tandem on the main track at Hollywood Park Wednesday for their respective female turf stakes this weekend.

Dance in the Mood, a 5-year-old mare, will run in the $750,000 CashCall Mile (gr. IIIT) on Saturday, while Asahi Rising, a 3-year-old filly, will compete in the $750,000 American Oaks (gr. IT) on Sunday.

Asahi Rising, under trainer Masaaki Koga, breezed in 1:02 3/5 and galloped out an extra furlong in 1:15 2/5. Dance in the Mood, with assistant Naruhito Kasai up, breezed in 1:03 4/5 and galloped out in 1:16 3/5.

Dance in the Mood broke on top during the work and went out slowly, :26 3/5 for the first quarter and :39 for three furlongs, before Asahi Rising pulled alongside in the stretch and went by.

Both horses were taken to the paddock for schooling after the work before returning to the isolation barn. The horses were flown here from Japan June 19 and cleared quarantine June 21.

Koga, who began training on his own three months ago after working for 14 years under Kazuo Fujisawa -- trainer of Dance in the Mood -- expressed optimism that Asahi Rising would run well on Sunday.

"She shipped well, and everything was good with the work," said Koga. "She's a very quiet horse."

Cesario provided Japan with its first grade I victory in the United States last year in the American Oaks. "I hope this filly continues that pattern of success," said Koga.

Asahi Rising, victorious in three of nine starts, finished third in her last start in the Japanese Oaks May 21.

Victor Espinoza will ride her, Koga said.

Fujisawa is scheduled to arrive here Friday. Dance in the Mood, who has earned $4,485,512, finished second in the 2004 American Oaks.