Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby

American-Bred Lemon Pop Takes Derby Prep at Tokyo

The first of four races on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, the 1600-meter Cattleya S. (allowance), took place Saturday on the eve of the G1 Japan Cup at Toyko Racecourse, with US-bred Lemon Pop (Lemon Drop Kid) running his record to two wins from as many starts with a convincing victory. The 7-5 second choice, a debut winner in a 1300-meter newcomers' event at Tokyo Nov. 7, broke without incident and was ridden positively from gate one by Keita Tosaki to sit in the wake of pacesetting Takeru...

[ Read More ]
Danon Pharaoh Too Strong in Japan Dirt Derby

The bettors had it right--well, in a sense. They pounded the previously undefeated Cafe Pharoah (American Pharoah) into 1-10 favoritism for Wednesday's Japan Dirt Derby, but Danon Pharaoh (Jpn) (American Pharoah) had other ideas, as he put away pacesetting Daimei Corrida (Jpn) (Eskendereya) in the final 150 meters en route to a 1 3/4-length success. Kitano Octopus (Jpn) (Fenomeno {Jpn}) rounded out a longshot trifecta that returned better than 7,700-1. The victory was worth 40 points on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. Daimei Corrida jumped alertly from his...

[ Read More ]
Derby Points on the Line at Toyko

The postponement of the GI Kentucky Derby from May to September forced a reworking of the Road to the Kentucky Derby points races, both at home and abroad. The Japanese component of the series, which offers the highest points-getter an automatic berth in the gate at Churchill Downs, has been extended by two races, and the first of those, the G3 Unicorn S. (1600m), is set for Sunday afternoon at Tokyo Racecourse. A pair of American-bred imports, each undefeated in two career appearances, figure to dominate the market. Cafe Pharoah...

[ Read More ]
Two Races Added to Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby

The Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, which awards the horse that accumulates the most points an automatic berth in the gate for the 'Run for the Roses' Sept. 5, has been extended to include two additional races, officials at Churchill Downs announced Friday. The G3 Unicorn S. (1600m) at Tokyo Racecourse Sunday, June 21, has been added to the series, as has the July 8 Japan Dirt Derby, a 10-furlong listed test at Ohi Racecourse. Both races will offer points on a scale of 40-16-8-4 for the top four...

[ Read More ]
Will Take Charge's Herrschaft 'Rules' The Day at Nakayama

Nakayama Racecourse played host to the $320,629 Fukuryu S. Saturday, an allowance race that serves as the fourth and final scheduled leg on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby. With the Run for the Roses delayed to early September, there could be more Japanese points races to follow, but with his 26-1 upset in the 1800-meter test, Herrschaft (Will Take Charge) earned 40 points and--at least for the time being--the Japanese berth in the starting gate at Churchill Downs. Away fairly from gate two, Herrschaft led them under the...

[ Read More ]
Cafe Pharoah Last To First in Hyacinth

Making his first start since a towering 10-length graduation over nine furlongs on his Dec. 14 debut at Nakayama, Cafe Pharoah (American Pharoah), one of six winners from seven Japanese runners for his Triple Crown-winning stallion, bombed the start of Sunday's Listed Hyacinth S. at Tokyo, but gradually worked his way into contention and sprinted hard in the final furlong to score by 1 1/4 lengths. He is the sixth first-crop stakes winner for American Pharoah. Favored at just over even money, the $475,000 OBS March acquisition by Emmanuel de...

[ Read More ]
Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Returns to Tokyo

Though it is missing its would-be favorite Dieu du Vin (Jpn) (Declaration of War), Sunday's Listed Hyacinth S. at Tokyo--the third of four races on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby--has attracted a solid group of 3-year-old dirt runners, including two of Triple Crown winner American Pharoah's six Japanese winners. Cafe Pharoah, a $475,000 acquisition out of last year's OBS March Sale, attracted the services of the visiting Ryan Moore for his nine-furlong unveiling at Nakayama Dec. 14 and the son of Paul Pompa, Jr.'s talented MGSW Mary's Follies...

[ Read More ]