Gran Alegria Tries for Third Group 1 in Sprinters

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Gran Alegria (Jpn) | JRA

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One of two Group 1 sprints on the Japan Racing Association calendar, the 1,200-meter G1 Sprinters S. draws a full field of 16 for Sunday's 54th renewal. Heading the morning line at 2-1 is dual Group 1- winning Gran Alegria (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), out of Tapitsfly (Tapit), a two-time Grade I winner on the turf in the United States.

Victorious in last season's G1 Japanese 1000 Guineas and G2 Hanshin Cup, the filly finished runner-up in the 1,200-meter G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen over soft ground at Chukyo in March before returning to best champion Almond Eye (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) in the G1 Yasuda Kinen over 1,600 meters at Tokyo Racecourse June 7.

“She ran a strong race in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, which was her first time at the trip,” explained assistant trainer Masaru Oehara. “In the Yasuda Kinen, she put in a good late spurt from the fourth corner, so in both races she ran very well. She's had a summer break and has come back to the stable looking bigger and stronger.”

Gran Alegria, who will be making her first start at Nakayama, will be accompanied by Christophe Lemaire, who has a 25% strike rate at the oval.

Attempting to record his first win at the Group 1 level, Danon Smash (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) has shown consistency this season, winning on three occasions and finishing in the top three in five starts. Additionally, six of his nine career wins have come over the Sprinters' distance of 1,200 meters.

Third in this test last year, he kicked off 2020 with a win over this course in the 1,200-meter G3 Yukan Fuji Sho Ocean S. Mar. 7 before a flat 10th in the Takamatsunomiya later that month. Back in the winner's circle following Tokyo's G2 Keio Hai Spring Cup May 16, the 5-year-old was eighth in the Yasuda Kinen before rebounding to score in the Sept. 13 Sankei Sho Centaur S. over 1,200 meters at Chukyo.

“He drew an outside gate last time [in the Centaur S.], but by the third corner had got himself into a good position and went on to win well,” said trainer Takayuki Yasuda, who has won the race three times. “I feel he'll come on quite a bit for that run.”

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