Cafe Pharoah Looking To Stay Perfect in Japan Dirt Derby


Cafe Pharoah | JRA photo


Having already sewn up the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby and a berth in the starting gate at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday of September if connections so choose, Cafe Pharoah (American Pharoah) will stretch out to 2000 meters for the first time in his career as he tries to make it four wins from as many starts in Wednesday's $711,743 Japan Dirt Derby at Ohi Racecourse.

The $475,000 OBS March graduate won his debut going nine furlongs in December, then cut back to Toyko's one-turn mile for the Listed Hyacinth S. Feb. 23, where he overcame a very slow start to pick up 30 Kentucky Derby points. The son of the very talented turf mare Mary's Follies (More Than Ready) took the next four months off, returning to add 40 additional points and clinch the Derby spot with an easy five-length tally in stakes-record time in the June 21 G3 Unicorn S., the first of two Japanese races added to the Road to the Derby in light of the coronavirus-related postponement. Damian Lane returns in the saddle.

Barnard Loop (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) was beaten 10 lengths into second by Cafe Pharoah on their respective debuts, but the dark bay has not lost since, with a pair of victories at Nakayama ahead of a neck defeat of Danon Pharaoh (Jpn) (American Pharoah) in the Listed Hyogo Championship at Sonoda May 6. Leading jockey Christophe Lemaire has the call.

A son of GI Santa Anita Oaks victrix Crisp (El Corredor), Danon Pharaoh fetched the equivalent of $1.63 million at the JRHA Select Yearling Sale two summers ago and has two wins from his seven trips to the post.

Daimei Corrida (Jpn) (Eskendereya) could manage only a ninth-place effort to Cafe Pharoah in the Hyacinth, but has improved with a stretch-out in trip and exits a close second in the Listed Hosu S. over Wednesday's trip at Hanshin June 21.

Full Flat (Speightstown), a $250,000 Keeneland September acquisition, defeated Sunday's G1 Prix du Jockey Club hero Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) in the $800,000 Saudi Derby Cup in February, but was no match for the favorite when sixth in the Unicorn S. last time out.

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