Favored Durandal made it back-to-back victories in the Japan Mile Championship (Jpn-I), defeating the filly Dance in the Mood by two lengths in the $1.77 million event at Kyoto Racecourse Sunday.
Jockey Kenichi Ikezoe guided Durandal to the outside for the final straightway and the 5-year-old horse by Sunday Silence responded with a steady gain, passing Dance in the Mood, the 3-year-old champion filly who led briefly in the stretch. The final time for the 1,600-meter event was 1:33.
Telegnosis wound up third, 3 3/4 lengths behind the winner.
Gary Tanaka's multiple group I winner Rakti, who was coming off a smashing win in the one-mile Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot Sept. 25, finished a disappointing 14th in the 16-horse field.
Meisho Bowler set the pace through the final turn before Dance in the Mood and Durandal soon took over. Durandal, Japan's champion sprinter in 2003 who won for the first time since last year's Mile Championship, was drawing away at the end.
''The pack didn't split after the final corner but I thought we were in a good position on the outside,'' Ikezoe told Kyodo News
. ''It went as planned. The moment we got to the stretch I knew we could do it. I believed he was a horse capable of winning a second straight title."
Dance in the Mood, who finished second to Ticker Tape as the favorite in the American Oaks (gr. IT) at Hollywood Park in July and was runner-up at the Oct. 31 autumn Tenno-sho, was the bridesmaid once again. Christophe Lemaire rode the daughter of Sunday Silence.
Masahiro Sakaguchi trains Durandal, who earned more than $895,000 for his third grade I win. Durandal paid 270 yen on a 100-yen wager.