Meisho Samson Avoids Trouble, Wins Tokyo's Tenno Sho

(from Japanese Racing Association report)

Favored Meisho Samson avoided traffic problems in the straight that compromised several leading contenders and drew away late for a 2 1/2-length victory in the 136th running of the US$2.45 million Tenno Sho (Jpn-I) Oct. 28 at Tokyo Race Course.

Ridden for the first time by Yutaka Take, the 4-year-old Opera House colt earned his fourth grade I win in the 2,000-meter (about 1 1/4 miles) grass test over Japan's best middle-distance runners. Torrential rain the night before left the course officially rated "dead."

Breaking from the inside post in the field of 16, Take pushed Meisho Samson out shortly after the start and kept the 5-2 choice in fairly close attendance to an average pace for the conditions. Cosmo Bulk led the opening five furlongs in 59.6 seconds.

As the field approached the turn, Cosmo Bulk moved out toward the middle of the track and allowed Take to bring Meisho Samson through to get a clear run down the straight in the best part of the track. As this happened, the runners who chose to come around the leading division were involved in some major interference when Eishin Deputy, racing in third on the outside, veered left and then right in the straight, causing problems for many of the fancied runners.

Meisho Samson edged away on the inside of the track and the 24-1 outsider Company made his way through the field to be second with 200 meters to go. Agnes Ark managed to come out of the interference in the early part of the straight and finished strongly. However, Daiwa Major and Admire Moon failed to make an impression on the outside. Meisho Samson pulled away to win convincingly, with Agnes Ark grabbing second by a neck from Company. Pop Rock flew in the final stages after being next-to-last at the 400-meter mark to finish fourth. Cosmo Bulk held on for fifth.

An official inquiry found that Eishin Deputy had caused interference to Agnes Ark, Shadow Gate, Admire Moon, and Daiwa Major. Eishin Deputy was demoted to 14th after originally finishing eighth.

The time for the race was 1:58.4, which is only 0.4 seconds outside the track and race record, a very good time considering the state of the track.

Bred in Japan by Koki Hayashi and owned by Yoshio Matsumoto, Meisho Samson is out of the Dancing Brave mare My Vivien and is trained by Shigetada Takahashi. The bay colt will now be aimed at the Japan Cup (Jpn-I) in late November before Japan’s biggest race, the Arima Kinen (Jpn-I) in December.

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