2015 News

December 20, 2015


Leontes Claims Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes in Second Career Start
Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1)

Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1)

Second choice Leontes won the biggest title for the season’s two-year-olds in only his second career start—he is the first colt in JRA history to accomplish the feat since the grade system was implemented in 1984. Out of Cesario, a G1 Oaks winner in Japan and the U.S., and half-brother to 2014 Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia, the King Kamehameha colt certainly lived up to expectations in his 2,000-meter debut against other two-year-olds with superb pedigrees four weeks back where he was forwardly positioned around sixth before drawing away to a 1-1/2 length victory and he did not disappoint in his leap in class against proven two-year-olds, giving trainer Katsuhiko Sumii and jockey Mirco Demuro, who had teamed up to win the Champions Cup with Sambista just two weeks ago another big title. Leontes’ win this time marked the 23rd JRA-G1 victory—the first Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes title—for Sumii and the 14th for Demuro including two in this race in 2010 and 2012 with Grand Prix Boss and Logotype, respectively.

Leontes was positioned this time at the rear end of the 16-horse field after breaking from stall 15 and gradually made headway with 800 meters to go and approaching the last corner. Circling the whole field and wide into the homestretch, the dark bay colt unleashed a tremendous turn of speed that enabled him to mow down the whole field and pin down race favorite Air Spinel soon after the 100-meter marker then pull away to a 3/4-length victory.

“I had been told that this colt was powerful and he certainly showed that when I rode him in training on Wednesday—he was pretty keen but smart and an honest colt. It was his first time over a mile but he responded and really stretched well on the outside. He’s got a lot to look forward to in his three-year-old season. This really has been a great year for me to have won four G1 wins,” said Mirco Demuro in Japanese.

Air Spinel was rated in mid-division outside a rival, almost ten lengths behind pace-setter Win Oscar, edged closer to the leaders before the last turn, sprinted clear once taking command before the furlong pole and opened the gap before challenged and overtaken by the winner.

Shadow Approach kept a close watch on Air Spinel from early in the race, rated a few lengths behind the favorite in mid-field and while unable to make a sharp change of speed once entering the straight, maintained a strong pace that was unable to match the top two finishers but bested the rest of the field.

Other Horses:
4th: (6) Yu Change—raced in 6th, found little room at top of stretch, switched to right, ran willingly
5th: (12) Shuji—took keen hold early, chased leaders in 4th, quickened between leaders, outrun in final strides
6th: (8) Two M Legend—saved ground in mid-division, showed effort along rails at stretch
7th: (10) Taisei Summit—broke poorly, raced in rear group, met traffic 200m out, lost momentum
8th: (3) Admire Morale—stalked leader in 2nd or 3rd, ran gamely until 100m out
9th: (7) Immortal—traveled behind favorite, passed tired rivals at straight
10th: (4) Copano Deal—ran near rear along rail, quickened after final turn, met traffic 100m out
11th: (9) Ball Lightning—raced wide in 6th, advanced after 3rd corner, lacked needed kick
12th: (14) Hallelujah Boy—traveled in mid-pack, even paced at stretch
13th: (16) Thrilla in Manila—sat 3-wide toward rear, unable to reach contention
14th: (2) Shonan Rise—chased leader in 2nd or 3rd, sustained bid until 300m out
15th: (1) Saimon Seele—hugged rail in 5th early, showed little at stretch
16th: (5) Win Oscar—set pace, faded after 300m marker

2-year-old Colts & Fillies, 1,600 meters (about 8 furlongs), turf, right-handed
Sunday, December 20, 2015   Hanshin Racecourse        11th Race    Post time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 146,600,000 (about US$ 1,222,000 <US$1=¥120>)
2-y-o: 55kg (about 121 lbs), 1 kg allowance for Fillies,
3 kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2013
Safety factor: 18 runners

FP BK PP Horse Sex
1 8 15 Leontes
C2 55.0 King Kamehameha
M. Demuro
K. Sumii
U. Carrot Farm
Northern Farm
2 6 11 Air Spinel
C2 55.0 King Kamehameha
Air Messiah
Y. Take
K. Sasada
Lucky Field Co., Ltd.
Tsunebumi Yoshihara
3 7 13 Shadow Approach
C2 55.0 Jungle Pocket
Maruka Aichan
Y. Nakatani
N. Sugai
Tomokazu Iizuka
Shadai Farm
4 3 6 Yu Change
C2 55.0 Swift Current
Yu Carat
Y. Kawada
H. Mori
K. Aitetsu
Aitetsu Co. Ltd.
5 6 12 Shuji
C2 55.0 Kinshasa no Kiseki
Y. Iwata
K. Hashiguchi
Koji Yasuhara
Hamamoto Bokujo
6 4 8 Two M Legend
C2 55.0 French Deputy
Princess Eve
K. Dazai
K. Ikezoe
Masateru Mizutani
Okada Bokujo
7 5 10 Taisei Summit
C2 55.0 Daiwa Major
A. Atzeni
Y. Yahagi
Seiho Tanaka
Shadai Farm
8 2 3 Admire Morale
C2 55.0 Kinshasa no Kiseki
Katsura Driver
H. Tanabe
H. Uehara
Riichi Kondo
Northern Farm
9 4 7 Immortal
C2 55.0 Manhattan Cafe
K. Take
N. Sugai
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd.
Northern Racing
10 2 4 Copano Deal
F2 54.0 Empire Maker
Risky Deal
F. Komaki
H. Sakiyama
Sachiaki Kobayashi
Ichikawa Bokujo
11 5 9 Ball Lightning
C2 55.0 Daiwa Major
M. Ebina
H. Miyamoto
Green Farm
Nasuno Bokujo
12 7 14 Hallelujah Boy
C2 55.0 Tosen Phantom
Tosen Minerva
S. Hamanaka
Y. Tamura
Takaya Shimakawa
Takaya Shimakawa
13 8 16 Thrilla in Manila
C2 55.0 Kinshasa no Kiseki
Nights End
R. Wada
R. Takei
Shinichi Koga
Hideyuki Soda
14 1 2 Shonan Rise
C2 55.0 Daiwa Major
Go Carolina
K. Ikezoe
H. Uehara
Tetsuhide Kunimoto
Shimokobe Farm
15 1 1 Saimon Seele
C2 55.0 Kinshasa no Kiseki
Pole Position
H. Miyuki
T. Umeda
Akinori Sawada
Mishima Bokujo
16 3 5 Win Oscar
C2 55.0 Screen Hero
Glory Sandy
K. Matsuyama
Y. Iida
Win Co., Ltd.
Nakamoto Bokujo
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: ¥ 22,507,799,300 ATTENDANCE: 29,891

PAY-OFF (for ¥100)
WIN No.15 ¥590 BRACKET QUINELLA 6-8 ¥460 QUINELLA 11-15 ¥520
PLACE No.15 ¥180 QUINELLA PLACE 11-15 ¥260 EXACTA 15-11 ¥1,340
No.11 ¥110 13-15 ¥5,170 TRIO 11-13-15 ¥8,160
No.13 ¥780 11-13 ¥1,610 TRIFECTA 15-11-13 ¥38,560
  1. Leontes (JPN), dark bay or brown, colt, 2-year-old
    King Kamehameha / Cesario (Special Week)
    Owner: U. Carrot Farm Breeder: Northern Farm
    Trainer: Katsuhiko Sumii Jockey: Mirco Demuro
    2 Starts, 2 Wins
    Added money: ¥ 71,162,000 Career earnings: ¥ 78,162,000

  2. Air Spinel (JPN), chestnut, colt, 2-year-old
    King Kamehameha / Air Messiah (Sunday Silence)
    Owner: Lucky Field Co., Ltd. Breeder: Tsunebumi Yoshihara
    Trainer: Kazuhide Sasada Jockey: Yutaka Take

  3. Shadow Approach (JPN), chestnut, colt, 2-year-old
    Jungle Pocket / Maruka Aichan (French Deputy)
    Owner: Tomokazu Iizuka Breeder: Shadai Farm
    Trainer: Naosuke Sugai Jockey: Yuta Nakatani
Fractional Time (sec./furlong): 12.5 - 10.8 - 11.4 - 12.6 - 12.7 - 11.9 - 10.8 - 11.7
  Last 4 furlongs: 47.1          Last 3 furlongs: 34.4

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

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.

* Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (G1)
Races for two-year-olds were held for the first time in 1946 at Tokyo. As the number of contenders increased, championship races—the Asahi Hai Sansai Stakes (predecessor to the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes) and the Hanshin Sansai Stakes (predecessor to the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies)—which determined the top two-year-olds of the season in eastern and western Japan, respectively, were established in 1949. In conjunction with the new grading system implemented, the two races were designated G1 status in 1984.
In 1991, the two races were divided by gender into two separate G1 events; the Hanshin Sansai Himba Stakes for two-year-old fillies and the Asahi Hai Sansai Stakes for two-year-old colts and geldings, then renamed “Hanshin Juvenile Fillies” and “Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes”, respectively, in 2001. Since 2004, the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes has been limited to non-gelded colts and fillies in view of the race being positioned as the two-year-old “classics”. The race, which started off as a 1,100-meter sprint, was extended to 1,200 meters in 1959 and again to 1,600 meters in 1962. In 2010, the race was opened to foreign runners. Due to the restructured racing program for two-year-olds, the venue was transferred from Nakayama to Hanshin Racecourse, the same location as the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, in 2014 while no changes were made in the distance.
Air Spinel was sent off race favorite, having come off two wins in as many starts and the latter being a G2 victory in the Daily Hai Nisai Stakes (G2, 1,600m) on November 14, while Leontes, half-brother to 2014 Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia, was second favorite under Mirco Demuro in only his second career start in this G1 event after breaking his maiden in his November 22 debut. Shuji, who finished 3-1/2 lengths second to Air Spinel in the Daily Hai Nisai Stakes, had also won a graded stakes in the Kokura Nisai Stakes (G3, 1,200m) in September. Ball Lightning was also undefeated in two starts and the winner of the Keio Hai Nisai Stakes (G2, 1,400m; November 7) with Admire Morale, the runner up by 1-1/4 length, and Shadow Approach, a nose behind that in third. Other notable starters included Immortal, runner-up in the graded Saudi Arabia Royal Cup (1,600m) on October 10.
The 2004 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes winner, Meiner Recolte (JPN, by Chief Bearhart) had been the race record holder for almost a decade, having covered the mile distance at Nakayama in 1:33.4, until the race was transferred to Hanshin Racecourse in 2014. Danon Platina (JPN, by Deep Impact) won the inaugural running of the renewed version of the race last year with the finishing time of 1:35.9.

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