2019 News

December 22, 2019


Lys Gracieux Defeats Strong All-Star Field in Her Last Run at Arima Kinen
Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix) (G1)

Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix) (G1)

Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix) (G1)

Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix) (G1)

Second pick Lys Gracieux claimed this year’s Arima Kinen following the Takarazuka Kinen in spring to become the 14th horse and the first mare to dominate both Grand Prix races (10th horse to win both races in the same year). The Heart’s Cry mare, who registered her first G1 title in last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup, will be retiring with a remarkable achievement of scoring three consecutive G1 wins—Takarazuka Kinen in June, Australia’s prestigious Cox Plate in October and the Arima Kinen. Trainer Yoshito Yahagi marked his eighth JRA-G1 victory since the Takarazuka Kinen and jockey Damian Lane, who was riding under a one-day short-term license, scored his third JRA-G1 win following the Victoria Mile in May with Normcore and the Takarazuka Kinen in June with this mare.

Five-year-old Lys Gracieux broke smoothly from stall six and hugged the rails around 10-11th from the front while eyeing race favorite Almond Eye traveling on the outside. Jockey Damian Lane steered his mount to the outside rounding the last corner and urged her to go at the top of the stretch, to which the Heart’s Cry mare responded willingly, taking the front 200 meters out and flying past the cheering crowds while leaving the field behind for a five-length victory.

“Obviously, I went into the race thinking Almond Eye would be hard to beat but I just had so much confidence in this horse, the way she improved out of the Takarazuka Kinen into the Cox Plate and Yahagi-san said she’s improved again. I just knew she was going to run a big race. It was a really good pace and I found a lovely spot back in the rail. I didn’t know what sort of track I was going to get but a space opened up and she did the rest,” commented jockey Damian Lane.

Third favorite Saturnalia traveled wide toward the rear, around fourth from last. The Lord Kanaloa colt improved position while taking a wide trip through the last corners, surged out behind Lys Gracieux in the last 200 meters with a strong late kick and, though unable to keep up with the powerful speed of the winner, held off the strong challenge of World Premiere by a neck.

Fourth choice World Premiere trailed in the very rear through most of the trip, circled the widest around the last two corners and dislodged an impressive late charge that timed the second fastest last three furlongs to close in on the runner-up by a neck at the wire.

Odds-on-favorite Almond Eye traveled in mid-division, around ninth from the front, edged forward through the last corners and was among the front horses passing the 200-meter pole but weakened thereafter to finish ninth.

“She was physically fit and in good condition but she couldn’t keep her calm before the crowd in the first lap and lost her rhythm. She was unable to relax and was tired as it was a 2,500-meter race,” commented Christophe Lemaire.

Other Horses:
4th: (5) Fierement—ran outside eventual winner around 10th, advanced after 3rd corner, rallied briefly with top 2 finishers, weakened in last 100m
5th: (11) Kiseki—broke poorly, hugged rails around 12th, turned wide, showed belated charge
6th: (16) Cheval Grand—saved ground 3rd from rear, angled out, improved position
7th: (8) Rey de Oro—was off slow, trailed in rear, circled wide, passed tired rivals
8th: (14) Velox—raced inside favorite around 8th, even paced
10th: (3) Etario—took economic trip in 5th, lacked needed kick at stretch
11th: (13) Al Ain—traveled in 4th, ran gamely until 200m marker, weakened thereafter
12th: (2) Suave Richard—settled around 6th, found little room at final corner, never fired
13th: (4) Stiffelio—tracked leader in 2nd or 3rd, led briefly at early stretch, fell back after 200m pole
14th: (15) Aerolithe—set fast pace, opened gap, ran out of steam at final corner
15th: (1) Scarlet Color—hugged rails around 7th, outrun after 3rd corner
16th: (12) Crocosmia—chased leader in 2nd or 3rd, faded after 3rd corner

3-year-olds & up, 2,500 meters (about 12.5 furlongs), turf, right-handed
Sunday, December 22, 2019     Nakayama Racecourse       11th Race      Post time: 15:25
Total prize money: ¥ 648,000,000 (about US$ 5,635,000 <US$1=¥115>)
3-y-o: 55kg (about 121 lbs), 4-y-o & up: 57kg (about 126 lbs),
2kg allowance for Fillies & Mares, 2kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2016
Safety factor: 16 runners

FP BK PP Horse Sex
1 3 6 Lys Gracieux
M5 55.0 Heart’s Cry
D. Lane
Y. Yahagi
U. Carrot Farm
Northern Farm
2 5 10 Saturnalia
C3 55.0 Lord Kanaloa
C. Soumillon
K. Sumii
U. Carrot Farm
Northern Farm
3 4 7 World Premiere
C3 55.0 Deep Impact
Y. Take
Y. Tomomichi
Ryoichi Otsuka
Northern Racing
4 3 5 Fierement
C4 57.0 Deep Impact
Lune d'Or
K. Ikezoe
T. Tezuka
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Racing
5 6 11 Kiseki
H5 57.0 Rulership
Blitz Finale
R. Moore
K. Sumii
Tatsue Ishikawa
Shimokobe Farm
6 8 16 Cheval Grand
H7 57.0 Heart’s Cry
Halwa Sweet
Y. Fukunaga
Y. Tomomichi
Kazuhiro Sasaki
Northern Racing
7 4 8
Rey de Oro
H5 57.0 King Kamehameha
La Dorada
K. Miura
K. Fujisawa
U. Carrot Farm
Northern Racing
8 7 14 Velox
C3 55.0 Just a Way
Y. Kawada
M. Nakauchida
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd.
Northern Farm
9 5 9 Almond Eye
F4 55.0 Lord Kanaloa
Fusaichi Pandora
C. Lemaire
S. Kunieda
Silk Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Racing
10 2 3
C4 57.0 Stay Gold
Hot Cha Cha
N. Yokoyama
Y. Tomomichi
G Riviere·Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Farm
11 7 13 Al Ain
H5 57.0 Deep Impact
Dubai Majesty
K. Matsuyama
Y. Ikee
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Farm
12 1 2 Suave Richard
H5 57.0 Heart’s Cry
O. Murphy
Y. Shono
NICKS Co., Ltd.
Northern Racing
13 2 4 Stiffelio
H5 57.0 Stay Gold
Serious Attitude
G. Maruyama
H. Otonashi
Shadai Race Horse Co., Ltd.
Shadai Farm
14 8 15 Aerolithe
M5 55.0 Kurofune
A. Tsumura
T. Kikuzawa
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Racing
15 1 1 Scarlet Color
F4 55.0 Victoire Pisa
Y. Iwata
R. Takahashi
Koji Maeda
North Hills Co,. Ltd.
16 6 12 Crocosmia
M6 55.0 Stay Gold
Y. Fujioka
K. Nishiura
Ryoichi Otsuka
Hideo Takadaru
FP=Final Position / BK=Bracket Number / PP=Post Position / B=Blinker / 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: ¥ 59,339,791,000 ATTENDANCE: 90,374

PAY-OFF (for ¥100)
WIN No.6 ¥ 670 BRACKET QUINELLA 3-5 ¥ 300 QUINELLA 6-10 ¥ 2,990
PLACE No.6 ¥ 210 QUINELLA PLACE 6-10 ¥ 850 EXACTA 6-10 ¥ 6,130
No.10 ¥ 270 6-7 ¥ 1,450 TRIO 6-7-10 ¥ 10,750
No.7 ¥ 390 7-10 ¥ 2,000 TRIFECTA 6-10-7 ¥ 57,860
  1. 1.Lys Gracieux (JPN), dark bay or brown, mare, 5-year-olds
    Heart’s Cry / Liliside (American Post)
    Owner: U. Carrot Farm Breeder: Northern Farm
    Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi Jockey: Damian Lane
    22 Starts, 7 Wins
    Added money: ¥ 303,402,000 Career earnings: ¥ 1,217,200,100

  2. 2.Saturnalia (JPN), dark bay or brown, colt, 3-year-olds
    Lord Kanaloa / Cesario (Special Week)
    Owner: U. Carrot Farm Breeder: Northern Farm
    Trainer: Katsuhiko Sumii Jockey: Christophe Soumillon

  3. 3.World Premiere (JPN), dark bay or brown, colt, 3-year-olds
    Deep Impact / Mandela (Acatenango)
    Owner: Ryoichi Otsuka Breeder: Northern Racing
    Trainer: Yasuo Tomomichi Jockey: Yutaka Take
Fractional time (sec./furlong): 6.9 - 11.1 - 11.4 - 11.4 - 11.5 - 12.2 - 12.3 - 12.1 - 11.7 - 12.3 - 13.4 - 12.2 - 12.0
Last 4 furlongs: 49.9        Last 3 furlongs: 37.6

Positions at each corner: 1st corner 15=(4,12)13,3,2,1(14,9)(6,5)11,10-16(7,8)
2nd corner 15=4,12,13,3(1,2)(14,9)(6,5)11,10-(16,8)7
3rd corner (2nd lap) 15=4-(12,13)-3,2(1,9)(14,5)(6,11,10)(16,8)7
4th corner (2nd lap) 15,4-13-(3,9,5)(2,10)(6,14,11)12(1,16,8)7

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.


* Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix) (G1)

Established in 1956 under the name “Nakayama Grand Prix,” the race was renamed to Arima Kinen (Arima Memorial) a year later after the sudden passing of the second JRA president, Yoriyasu Arima. Arima initiated the idea of holding an attractive event at Nakayama Racecourse, where a new grandstand had just been completed at that time, in an attempt to create a race that would receive as much attention as the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) held at Tokyo Racecourse. The Arima Kinen was designed to be a season-end Grand Prix, in which the runners are selected by fan poll—an “All-Star” event in Japanese racing. Fans can cast their votes at JRA racecourses and off-track betting sites as well as through mail or online to select the ten most popular runners. Among the horses entered in the race, ten runners with the most votes are entitled to run in the race while the rest of the field is determined in order of earnings. Foreign runners that won the Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m) became eligible to race in the Arima in 2000, then the race was designated as an international G1 race and open to a maximum of six foreign runners in 2007.
Recent Arima Kinen victors such as Orfevre (JPN, by Stay Gold; ’13), Gentildonna (JPN, by Deep Impact; ’14) and Kitasan Black (JPN, by Black Tide; ’17) have capped off their stellar racing careers with an impressive win in the race.
This year’s contenders that were among the top ten in the poll were: Almond Eye (1st) who claimed her sixth G1 title in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1, 2,000m; Oct.27); Lys Gracieux (2nd), coming off a win in the Cox Plate (G1, 2,040m; Oct.26); 2017 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1, 3,000m) winner Kiseki (3rd), making his first start since the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1, 2,400m; Oct.6); Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m) champion Saturnalia (4th) who was sixth in the Tenno Sho (Autumn); Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1, 3,200m) victor Fierement (6th), also back from the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe; World Premiere (7th), winner of the Kikuka Sho (Oct.20); Suave Richard (8th) who registered his second G1 victory in the Japan Cup (Nov.24) and 2018 Tenno Sho (Autumn) winner Rey de Oro (9th) who was 11th in the Japan Cup.
Other notable contenders included; Osaka Hai (G1, 2,000m) victor Al Ain (12th); 2017 Japan Cup champion Cheval Grand (13th); Satsuki Sho runner-up Velox (17th) and 2017 NHK Mile Cup (G1, 1,600m) victor Aerolithe (18th).
Horses that were ranked among the top ten but passed up their entry were Blast Onepiece (JPN, C4, by Harbinger; 5th) and Wagnerian (JPN, C4, by Deep Impact; 10th).
The race record of 2:29.5 was set by Zenno Rob Roy (JPN, by Sunday Silence) in 2004.

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