2015 News

February 22, 2015


Copano Rickey Becomes First to Capture Consecutive February Stakes titles

Emerging as race favorite in this year’s February Stakes after being dismissed as the longest shot on the board in the 2014 event, Copano Rickey has become the first horse in JRA history to capture the title two years in a row. After last year’s triumph, the chestnut went on to secure two NAR-G1 titles, the Kashiwa Kinen (dirt, 1,600m) in May and the JBC Classic (dirt, 2,000m) in November, and three weeks after finishing a dismal 12th due to a poor break in the Champions Cup, Copano Rickey turned in a runner-up effort four lengths from winner Hokko Tarumae (JPN, H6, by King Kamehamema) in the Tokyo Daishoten (G1, dirt, 2,000m) at the end of the season. The Akira Murayama trained horse had come back to defend his title this year after kicking off his 2015 campaign successfully with a four-length victory in last month’s Tokai Stakes (G2, dirt, 1,800m).

For trainer Akira Murayama, this is third February Stakes and in as many JRA-G1 titles, while veteran jockey Yutaka Take celebrates his 69th JRA-G1 title, his first since the Mile Championship with Tosen Ra (JPN, by Deep Impact) in 2013.

In contrast to his disappointing Champions Cup start, Copano Rickey sprinted well from the fourth stall at the head of the backstretch and sat a perfect stalking trip within two lengths of the pace setter Admire Royal up to the last corner. The champion had no trouble in finding his stride as he easily drew even with the leader 400 meters out and steadily expanded his lead, keeping the late closing Incantation at bay to hit the wire half-a-length in front for the win.

“I’m happy and relieved since he was the race favorite. His break wasn’t that good, but we were able to take a smooth trip at a good pace. We were fortunate that there was a pace setter. He had so much left at the top of the stretch and was so confident and eager. He was tuned up perfectly for this huge target and was able to show his true strength”, Yutaka Take commented.

After breaking sharply from a wide stall, fifth favorite Incantation was settled just off the pace and four wide, entering the lane fourth from the front for a clear run. While overtaking the tiring pace setter at the furlong pole, the five-year-old bay struggled in vain to gain in on the leader but found his second wind in the last 100 meters to accelerate well, however was 1/2 length too late at the line to finish second.

Third pick Best Warrior also took a wide trip in mid-pack and was a few lengths behind Incantation when the field straightened away. The chestnut persistently closed in stride for stride through the stretch, picking off his tiring rivals to cross the line another 3/4 length behind for third.

Other Horses:
4th: (7) Grape Brandy—stalked winner in 5-6th, sustained bid but 1/2 length short for 3rd
5th: (1) Roman Legend—ran 4th from last, showed good effort along rail and timed fastest over last 3 furlongs
6th: (11) Wide Bach—raced toward rear, checked at top of stretch, switched to right and quickened
7th: (9) Sambista—traveled in mid-group, showed belated charge in last 300m
8th: (5) Kazenoko—positioned 2nd from last, accelerated until 200m out, even paced thereafter
9th: (13) Wonder Acute—sat in 5-6th, lacked needed kick at stretch
10th: (2) Corin Berry—broke slowly, made headway to mid-pack, met traffic and even paced
11th: (6) Happy Sprint—raced in mid-division, entered lane 2nd-3rd from last, passed tired rivals
12th: (16) Admire Royal—set pace from outermost draw, outrun in last 100m
13th: (15) Kyowa Duffy—ran outside winner in 3rd, dropped back after last 300m
14th: (8) Red Alvis—traveled in 5-6th, failed to respond
15th: (3) Silk Fortune—trailed in rear, advanced from 3rd corner, weakened after 300m out
16th: (12) Satono Tiger—settled near rear, no factor

4-year-old & up, 1,600 meters (about 8 furlongs), dirt, left-handed
Sunday, February 22, 2015   Tokyo Racecourse   11th Race    Post time: 15:40
Total prizermoney: ¥ 196,320,000 (about US$ 1,636,000 <US$1=¥120>)
4-y-o & up: 57kg (aboutr126 lbs), 2kg allowance for Fillies & Mares,
1kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2011      Safety factor: 16 runners

FP BK PP Horse Sex
1 2 4 Copano Rickey
H5 57.0 Gold Allure
Copano Nikita
Y. Take
A. Murayama
Sachiaki Kobayashi
Yanagawa Bokujo
2 7 14 Incantation
H5 57.0 Sinister Minister
Original Spin
H. Uchida
T. Hatsuki
Turf Sport
Tanikawa Stud
3 5 10 Best Warrior
H5 57.0 Majestic Warrior
Flirtatious Miss
K. Tosaki
S. Ishizaka
Yukio Baba
Buck Pond Farm Inc
4 4 7
Grape Brandy
H7 57.0 Manhattan Cafe
Wine and Rose
H. Kitamura
T. Yasuda
Shadai Race Horse Co., Ltd.
Shadai Farm
5 1 1 Roman Legend
H7 57.0 Special Week
Personal Legend
Y. Iwata
H. Fujiwara
Suzuko Ota
Shadai Farm
6 6 11 Wide Bach
H6 57.0 Adjudicating
Green Hill Red
M. Ebina
Y. Shono
Kyoko Habata
Tsuneo Yagi
7 5 9 Sambista
M6 55.0 Suzuka Mambo
White Carnival
C. Demuro
K. Sumii
K. Hidaka Breeders Union
Grand Stud
8 3 5 Kazenoko
C4 57.0 Agnes Digital
Toughness Star
S. Hamanaka
K. Nonaka
K. Nudejima
Koji Nudejima
9 7 13 Wonder Acute
H9 57.0 Charismatic
Wonder Heritage
F. Berry
M. Sato
N. Yamamoto
Nobuyuki Yamamoto
10 1 2 Corin Berry
F4 55.0 South Vigorous
Korin la Vie En
K. Matsuyama
M. Shibata
Keiko Ito
Keiko Ito
11 3 6 Happy Sprint
C4 57.0 Ammirare
H. Yoshihara
J. Morishita
Tsuji B.
Tsuji Bokujo
12 8 16 Admire Royal
H8 57.0 King Kamehameha
Must Be Loved
N. Yokoyama
M. Hashida
Riichi Kondo
Northern Farm
13 8 15 Kyowa Duffy
H7 57.0 King Kamehameha
Asaka Petite
Y. Fukunaga
K. Sasada
Kyowa Farm Co., Ltd.
Kyowa Farm Co., Ltd.
14 4 8 Red Alvis
C4 57.0 Gold Allure
Charleston Harbor
M. Katsuura
T. Yasuda
TokyoHorseRacingCo., Ltd
Northern Racing
15 2 3 Silk Fortune
H9 57.0 Gold Allure
Silk Esperanza
T. Eda
N. Fujisawa
Silk Racing Co., Ltd.
Yoshiji Nakachi
16 6 12 Satono Tiger
H7 57.0 King Kamehameha
Fabulous Turn
K. Miura
S. Kokubo
Hajime Satomi
Shadai Farm

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.

WINNING TIME: 1:36.3  GOING: Standard WEATHER: Cloudy
TURNOVER FOR THE RACE ALONE: ¥11,628,402,100  
TURNOVER FOR THE DAY: ¥20,714,363,800 ATTENDANCE: 44,861

PAY-OFF (for ¥100)
WIN No.4 ¥210 BRACKET QUINELLA 2-7 ¥1,260 QUINELLA 4-14 ¥1,570
PLACE No.4 ¥130 QUINELLA PLACE 4-14 ¥650 EXACTA 4-14 ¥2,100
No.14 ¥300 4-10 ¥390 TRIO 4-10-14 ¥3,060
No.10 ¥190 10-14 ¥1,110 TRIFECTA 4-14-10 ¥12,370
  1. Copano Rickey (JPN), chestnut, horse, 5-year-old
    Gold Allure / Copano Nikita (Timber Country)
    Breeder: Yanagawa Bokujo Owner: Sachiaki Kobayashi
    Trainer: Akira Murayama Jockey: Yutaka Take
    16 Starts, 9 Wins
    Added money: ¥97,444,000  Career earnings: ¥497,264,000
    Principal Race Performances:
    ’14 February Stakes (G1, dirt, 1,600m) 1st
    ’14 JBC Classic (dirt, 2,000m)  1st
    ’14 Kashiwa Kinen (dirt, 1,600m)  1st
    ’15 Tokai Stakes (G2, dirt, 1,800m)  1st
    ’13 Hyogo Championship (dirt,1,870m) 1st

  2. Incantation (JPN), bay, horse, 5-year-old
    Sinister Minister / Original Spin (Machiavellian)
    Breeder: Tanikawa Stud  Owner: Turf Sport
    Trainer: Tomohiko Hatsuki Jockey: Hiroyuki Uchida

  3. Best Warrior (USA), chestnut, horse, 5-year-old
    Majestic Warrior / Flirtatious Miss (Mr. Greeley)
    Breeder: Buck Pond Farm, Inc Owner: Yukio Baba.
    Trainer: Sei Ishizaka   Jockey: Keita Tosaki
Fractional Time (sec./furlong): 12.3 - 10.6 - 11.4 - 12.6 - 13.1 - 12.3 - 11.5 - 12.5
Last 4 furlongs: 49.4   Last 3 furlongs: 36.3

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

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.

* February Stakes (G1)
Japanese horse racing, which is influenced by British racing, is held mainly on turf. However, dirt tracks that were popular in the U.S., quickly became widely used around the country since the Tokyo Racecourse implemented a new dirt track in 1960. While the mainstream of major JRA races remained over turf, the February Stakes (then called February Handicap) which was established in 1984 together with the Winter Stakes (now named Tokai Stakes (G2) and held in January) in conjunction with the new grading system, was one of just three graded dirt races at the time—the current number of graded dirt events is 15.
In 1995, the JRA and the NAR (National Association of Racing; local public racing) set up a joint racing program allowing thoroughbreds that are suited to dirt racing to follow a step-by-step program towards becoming a G1 winner in the field of dirt racing. Now, while most of the major dirt events are held on NAR racetracks (most NAR tracks only have dirt courses), the February Stakes, which was upgraded to G2 in 1994 and then to G1 in 1997, was the highest-prized event until the Japan Cup Dirt (called the Champions Cup from 2014) took over in 2000.
Past winners include Wing Arrow (JPN, by Assatis; ’00), Agnes Digital (USA, by Crafty Prospector; ’02), Gold Allure (JPN, by Sunday Silence; ’03), Admire Don (JPN, by Timber Country; ’04), Kane Hekili (JPN, by Fuji Kiseki; ’06), Vermilion (JPN, by El Condor Pasa; ’08), Espoir City (JPN, by Gold Allure; ’10) and Transcend (JPN, by Wild Rush; ’11)—all eight are winners of multiple-G1 races as well as JRA Award winners.
While 2014 Best Dirt Horse Hokko Tarumae (JPN, H6, by King Kamehameha) was out of the picture heading for the Dubai World Cup (G1, dirt, 2,000m) this year instead, Copano Rickey, who registered an astonishing victory in last year’s February Stakes after being sent off least favorite, was back in full aim to defend his title with two additional NAR-G1 titles under his belt. The heavily favored defending champion had recently notched a dominating four-length win in his most recent start, the Tokai Stakes (G2, dirt, 1,800m) on January 25. Sixth in the Champions Cup (G1, dirt, 1,800m) and coming off a runner-up finish in the Negishi Stakes (G3, dirt, 1,400m) on February 1, Wide Bach made his second G1 challenge, while Japan Dirt Derby (dirt, 2,000m) winner Kazenoko came off a 3/4-length second from Hokko Tarumae in the Kawasaki Kinen (dirt, 2,100m) last month.
Other prominent contenders in the field were 2012 Tokyo Daishoten (G1, dirt, 2,000m) winner Roman Legend, 2013 February Stakes champion Grape Brandy, third-place finisher in the 2012 and 2013 versions Wonder Acute, 2014 Mile Championship Nambu Hai (dirt, 1,600m) victor Best Warrior, and 2014 JBC Ladies’ Classic (dirt, 1,800m) winner Sambista who fared well against the opposite gender finishing a good fourth in the Champions Cup last year.
Success Brocken (JPN, by Symboli Kris S) set the race record in 2009 when covering the mile distance at Tokyo’s dirt course in 1:34.6.

February Stakes (G1) related contents