Logi Universe wins the 76th Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby)
Veteran jockey Norihiro Yokoyama won his first Derby when Logi Universe shot away to win the 76th running of the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) today on a soft track at Tokyo racecourse.
Torrential rain began falling at the Tokyo racecourse about 3 hours before the Derby was run, and the track was subsequently downgraded twice in succession in the lead up to the main race. The favorite Unrivaled was the clear pick of the Japanese punters, and by Derby winning sire Neo Universe, was expected by most handle the wet track. The second favorite Logi Universe is also by the same sire, and as the rain fell, his quote also shortened.
When the field started, Grade 1 NHK Mile hero, Jo Cappuccino went straight to the lead, while jockey Yutaka Take settled talented but immature Reach the Crown in second position in the early stages. Yokoyama had Logi Universe on the rails in 3rd, behind Reach the Crown, while jockey Yasunari Iwata had the favorite Unrivaled on the outside of the field, back near last after started from barrier 18.
Jo Cappuccino went along very fast in the lead, breaking 60 seconds for the first 1000m on the very heavy track. Take let the leader get away, and was content to sit quietly on Reach the Crown in 2nd, until the field approached the final corner at the 600m.
Jo Cappuccino quickly capitulated at the top of the long Tokyo straight, and Reach the Crown forged to the front. While most jockeys made their moves, out towards the center of the track, Yokoyama drove Logi Universe through a tiny gap between Reach the Crown and the inside running rail, and as he shot through the gap and past Reach the Crown, it was clear he was setting up a winning break.
Antonio Barows came out of the pack with a challenge after having had the run of the race one off the fence in fifth position, but there was no danger to Logi Universe in the final 200m. Logi Universe shot away for a convincing 4 length win, while Take got everything out of Reach the Crown in the straight and the tired horse held on to grab second place by a head from the valiant Antonio Barows. Nakayama Festa made more ground than any other runner in the straight but could only finish 4th. Favorite Unrivaled was asked for a run down the outside in the straight, but struggled all the way to finish a disappointing 12th.
Logi Universe had been an odds-on favorite for the first leg of the Japanese triple crown last time out, but had disappointed in finishing 14th in that race - the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas). He bounced back in spectacular fashion today, and the crowd roared as Yokoyama brought him back in front of the stand for his "winning run".
Logi Universe is by Neo Universe out of the Cape Cross mare Acoustics, and was bred by Northern Farm. He is owned by Masaaki Kumeta, and trained by Kiyoshi Hagiwara. His win today was his first top-class race victory, and his 5th win from 6 starts.