2019 News

March 31, 2019


Al Ain Earns Well-Deserved G1 Osaka Hai Victory
Osaka Hai (G1)

Osaka Hai (G1)

Ninth pick Al Ain captured his long awaited G1 title, the first since his three-year-old classic victory in the 2017 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, 2,000m), against a reputedly strong field in this year’s Osaka Hai. Although regarded highly since early in his career during which he scored two wins in as many starts as a two-year-old and quickly landed two grade-race titles including the Mainichi Hai (G3, 1,800m) and the Satsuki Sho in his three-year-old campaign, the son of Deep Impact was winless in ten starts since while consistent in finishing within fifth place in nine including two thirds in the Osaka Hai and the Mile Championship (G1, 1,600m) last year. Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee scored his 20th JRA-G1 victory following the 2017 Mile Championship with Persian Knight. It was the first career G1 victory and 17th grade-race title for Yuichi Kitamura who debuted in 2006.

Jockey Yuichi Kitamura, who had partnered the son of Deep Impact twice before last season, made use of the inside draw to settle Al Ain after a sharp break in third or fourth and saved ground through most of the trip behind pacesetter Epoca d’Oro. The field traveled at a moderate-slow pace and bunched up rounding the last corner giving the 2017 Satsuki Sho victor an ideal opening going into the stretch. Kitamura did not miss a beat in giving the five-year-old the green light and his mount responded instantly as they overtook the tiring leader and took command in the last 200 meters, out-dueled Kiseki who emerged along the center lane and held off Wagnerian who challenged in the inside for a neck win.

“We had a good draw and everything worked to our advantage. He was able to focus using the blinkers for the second time and he responded well so I just concentrated on keeping him comfortable,” commented Yuichi Kitamura.

Kiseki, who had dictated the pace in his recent starts, chose to stay close to the pace in second and had every chance as the 2018 Japan Cup runner-up accelerated smoothly into the stretch but was unable to match the winner finishing a neck short for second.

Wagnerian was rated in mid-field along the rails not far from the Al Ain and followed the eventual winner for the stretch run but was unable to reach the first two for a close third.

Last year’s Arima Kinen victor and race favorite Blast Onepiece was unhurried after a smooth break, made his move from racing fourth from the rear along the outside approaching the last corner but was forced wide as the field bunched up rounding the final turn and had too much ground to make up, finishing sixth.

Other Horses:
4th: (1) Makahiki—trailed in rear along rails, switched to outside, accelerated in last 200m, timed fastest over last 3 furlongs
5th: (9) Air Windsor—traveled in mid-division, responded well, even paced in last 100m
7th: (13) Stiffelio—chased leaders in 3rd, showed effort, outrun in last 100m
8th: (5) Muito Obrigado—saved ground in mid-pack early, gradually dropped back, entered last entering stretch, passed tired rivals
9th: (14) Danburite—raced 3-wide in mid-group, even paced at stretch
10th: (4) Epoca d’Oro—set pace, fell back after furlong pole
11th: (11) Persian Knight—settled 3-wide in mid-division, checked 100m out, lost momentum
12th: (8) Sungrazer—ran 2nd from rear, switched to outside at early stretch, never fired
13th: (10) Stay Foolish—sat 3rd from rear, circled wide, unable to reach contention
14th: (12) Stelvio—traveled outside eventual winner, weakened in last 300m, faded

4-year-old & up, 2,000 meters (about 10 furlongs), turf, right-handed
Sunday, March 31, 2019    Hanshin Racecourse      11th Race        Post time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 259,200,000 (about US$ 2,254,000 <US$1=¥115>)
4-y-o & up: 57kg (about 126 lbs),
2kg allowance for Fillies & Mares, 1kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2015
Safety factor: 16 runners

FP BK PP Horse Sex
1 3 3
Al Ain
H5 57.0 Deep Impact
Dubai Majesty
Y. Kitamura
Y. Ikee
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Farm
2 4 6 Kiseki
H5 57.0 Rulership
Blitz Finale
Y. Kawada
K. Sumii
Tatsue Ishikawa
Shimokobe Farm
3 2 2 Wagnerian
C4 57.0 Deep Impact
Miss Encore
Y. Fukunaga
Y. Tomomichi
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd.
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc.
4 1 1 Makahiki
H6 57.0 Deep Impact
Y. Iwata
Y. Tomomichi
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd.
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc.
5 6 9 Air Windsor
H5 57.0 King Kamehameha
Air Messiah
S. Hamanaka
K. Sumii
Lucky Field Co., Ltd.
Tsunebumi Yoshihara
6 5 7 Blast Onepiece
C4 57.0 Harbinger
Tsurumaru Onepiece
K. Ikezoe
M. Otake
Silk Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Farm
7 8 13 Stiffelio
H5 57.0 Stay Gold
Serious Attitude
H. Tanabe
H. Otonashi
Shadai Race Horse Co., Ltd.
Shadai Farm
8 4 5 Muito Obrigado
H5 57.0 Rulership
Pisa no Graf
N. Yokoyama
K. Tsunoda
Ichikawa Yoshimi Holdings Co., Ltd.
Yoshimi Ichikawa
9 8 14 Danburite
H5 57.0 Rulership
F. Matsuwaka
H. Otonashi
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Farm
10 3 4 Epoca d’Oro
C4 57.0 Orfevre
Daiwa Passion
K. Tosaki
H. Fujiwara
K. Hidaka Breeders Union
Toru Tagami
11 7 11 Persian Knight
H5 57.0 Harbinger
Orient Charm
M. Demuro
Y. Ikee
G1 Racing Co., Ltd.
Oiwake Farm
12 5 8 Sungrazer
H5 57.0 Deep Impact
Mantis Hunt
F. Minarik
H. Asami
G1 Racing Co., Ltd.
Oiwake Farm
13 6 10 Stay Foolish
C4 57.0 Stay Gold
Kauai Lane
K. Fujioka
Y. Yahagi
Shadai Race Horse Co., Ltd.
Shadai Farm
14 7 12 Stelvio
C4 57.0 Lord Kanaloa
G. Maruyama
T. Kimura
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Farm
FP=Final Position / BK=Bracket Number / PP=Post Position / Wgt=Weight / L3F=Time of Last 3 Furlongs (600m)
Note1: No foreign contenders
Note2: Figures quoted under Odds are Win Odds, which show the amount of money you get back per single unit (100yen), and Fav indicates the order of favorites.

TURNOVER FOR THE DAY: ¥ 24,514,285,700 ATTENDANCE: 36,557

PAY-OFF (for ¥100)
WIN No.3 ¥2,220 BRACKET QUINELLA 3-4 ¥1,750 QUINELLA 3-6 ¥3,680
PLACE No.3 ¥450 QUINELLA PLACE 3-6 ¥1,090 EXACTA 3-6 ¥10,940
No.6 ¥180 2-3 ¥2,880 TRIO 2-3-6 ¥10,740
No.2 ¥320 2-6 ¥880 TRIFECTA 3-6-2 ¥93,560
  1. 1.Al Ain (JPN), bay, horse, 5-year-old
    Deep Impact / Dubai Majesty (Essence of Dubai)
    Owner: Sunday Racing Co., Ltd. Breeder: Northern Farm
    Trainer: Yasutoshi Ikee Jockey: Yuichi Kitamura
    16 Starts, 5 Wins
    Added money: ¥ 122,982,000 Career earnings: ¥ 500,110,900

  2. 2.Kiseki (JPN), dark bay or brown, horse, 5-year-old
    Rulership / Blitz Finale (Deep Impact)
    Owner: Tatsue Ishikawa Breeder: Shimokobe Farm
    Trainer: Katsuhiko Sumii Jockey: Yuga Kawada

  3. 3.Wagnerian (JPN), bay, colt, 4-year-old
    Deep Impact / Miss Encore (King Kamehameha)
    Owner: Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd. Breeder: Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc.
    Trainer: Yasuo Tomomichi Jockey: Yuichi Fukunaga
Fractional time (sec./furlong): 12.6 - 11.1 - 12.7 - 12.7 - 12.2 - 12.4 - 11.8 - 11.4 - 11.6 - 12.5
Last 4 furlongs: 47.3          Last 3 furlongs: 35.5

Positions at each corner: 1st corner 4(6,13)(3,12)14(2,9)(5,11)(7,10)8,1
2nd corner 4,6(3,13)(12,14)(2,9)11(5,10)7,8,1
3rd corner 4(6,13)(3,14)(12,11)(2,9,7)(1,5,8,10)
4th corner (*4,6)13(3,12,14,11)(2,9,7)(1,8,10)-5

Note1: Underlined bold number indicates the winning horse.
Note2: Horse numbers are indicated in the order of their positions at each corner, with the first position listed first. Two or more horses inside the same parentheses indicate that they were positioned side by side. Hyphens between the horse numbers indicate that there is distance between the former and the latter. The asterisk indicates a slight lead.


* Osaka Hai (G1)

The Osaka Hai, renewing its name in 2017 from the familiarly known Sankei Osaka Hai, was established in 1957 as a handicap race open to runners of four years of age and upwards run over 1,800m at Hanshin Racecourse in March. After the distance was extended to 2,000m in 1972, the date was moved to one week earlier to the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) in 1981. The race was given G2 status in conjunction with the new grading system in 1984, opened its doors to foreign competitors in 2003 and was upgraded to G1 in 2017. The winner of the race will automatically earn a starting position in the Irish Champion Stakes (G1, 2,000m) held in September.
Attracting strong contenders by serving as a prep race for G1 spring races for older horses such as the Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1, 3,200m) and the Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200m), many Osaka Hai champions have gone on to achieve G1 successes; Meisho Samson (JPN, by Opera House) in 2007, Hiruno d’Amour (JPN, by Manhattan Cafe),who set the race record of 1:57.8 in 2011, two-time Horse of the Year Kitasan Black (JPN, by Black Tide) in 2017, all went on to capture the Tenno Sho (Spring) that followed; and Dream Journey (JPN, by Stay Gold) in 2009 landed his Takarazuka Kinen victory two starts later. Winners who also showed extraordinary accomplishments include 2008 champion Daiwa Scarlet (JPN, by Agnes Tachyon), legendary 2013 winner Orfevre (JPN, by Stay Gold) and 2014 victor Kizuna (JPN, by Deep Impact). Last year’s victor Suave Richard (JPN, H5, by Heart’s Cry) was among the overseas challengers in Dubai this year and was third in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1, 2,410m).
2018 Arima Kinen (G1, 2,500m; Dec.23) victor Blast Onepiece and Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1, 2,400m) winner Wagnerian started their four-year-old season with this year’s Osaka Hai. Danburite registered his second grade-race title in the Kyoto Kinen (G2, 2,200m; Feb.10) while 2016 Tokyo Yushun champion Makahiki was a close third. 2018 Mile Championship (G1, 1,600m) winner Stelvio and Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guienas, G1, 2,000m) victor Epoca d’Oro finished third and fifth in the Nakayama Kinen (G2, 1,800m; Feb.24), respectively. G1 winners coming off the Kinko Sho (G2, 2,000m; Mar.10) were Persian Knight (4th) and Al Ain (5th) who had claimed their respective G1 titles in the Mile Championship and the Satsuki Sho in 2017. The field also included 2017 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1, 3,000m) champion Kiseki, three-time graded winner Sungrazer and Stiffelio who came off his second consecutive graded win in the Kokura Daishoten (G3, 1,800m; Feb.17).

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