2016 News

November 27, 2016


Kitasan Black Lives Up to High Expectations in Japan Cup
Japan Cup (International Invitational) (G1)

Japan Cup (International Invitational) (G1)

Japan Cup (International Invitational) (G1)

Race favorite Kitasan Black topped the 17-horse field of first-class international runners in this year’s Japan Cup by a comfortable 2-1/2 length margin, marking his sixth grade-race and third G1 victory after his 2015 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) and 2016 Tenno Sho (Spring) triumphs. This is the fourth year in a row that a four-year-old captured the title. Among his eight career-wins, the Black Tide colt has now given trainer Hisashi Shimizu all of his three G1 victories. Meanwhile, jockey Yutaka Take claimed his 71st JRA-G1 victory, the first since the Tenno Sho (Spring) triumph also with Kitasan Black. Take made another record as the jockey with most Japan Cup titles, having previously won three times with Special Week in 1999, Deep Impact in 2006 and Rose Kingdom in 2010.

Owned by well-known singer Saburo Kitajima, registered under Ono Shoji, Kitasan Black took advantage of his inner-most stall start, and as expected, smoothly secured the front-running position by the first turn, stretching his lead by three to four lengths from One and Only in second and Gold Actor in third along the backstretch. While the field made their bids heading into the straight and closed in on the front runner, Take calmly and with confidence, allowed his colt to hit his best stride, never surrendering the lead and pulling away strongly from the 300-meter marker to a convincing 2-1/2 length victory.

Last year’s fifth-place finisher Sounds of Earth sat in mid-field early, took a wide route into the stretch and galloped on strongly to pin the front runners one by one, overtaking the runner-up 150 meters out, but was no match for the winner and settled for second.

Starting from the farthest outside post position, Copa Republica Argentina victor Cheval Grand took a wide trip in mid-division before chasing Sounds of Earth into the straight then charged home down the middle of the lane, closing well, but was a neck short from the runner-up at the wire for third.

Iquitos, representing Germany, was reserved off the rails around fourth from the rear. Making headway rounding the last corner under jockey Ian Ferguson, the longshot charged impressively through gaps in the straight, inheriting the runner-up position at one point just before the 100 meter marker, but was caught by his fast closing rivals to finish 0.6 seconds from the winner in seventh.

Trainer Hans-Jurgen Groschel commented after the race, “We’re happy with how he ran today. We were a bit unfortunate that he had to break from an inner stall – he was trapped inside horses and wasn’t able to accelerate as hoped. It would be nice if we could come back to Japan again.

“We normally ride him from last position to keep him nice and settled, but today, for the first time, we put him in the middle between horses, and I was really happy about how well he settled with horses chasing him left and right – that was the reason he showed the speed at the end because he was so relaxed at the beginning. We’re quite surprised. It was just a bit of a shame in the end that he got into a bad ground on the left – but he’s a tough little horse and we’re delighted with the results.”

Sent off ninth favorite, German filly Nightflower sat in the rear of the field up to the last turn after breaking from stall 15, and although showing effort by improving position in the last furlong, had too much ground to make up and finished 12th.

“She was not herself today – she wasn’t able to get into a good position, running in the rear, and was totally unfocused. She will retire when she gets back home as planned,” said trainer Peter Schiergen.

“The filly wasn’t in hand from the start and we had to sit in the rear of the field. It was difficult to find the right timing – nothing went as planned,” jockey Andrasch Starke said after the race.

French runner Erupt traveled off the pace in fourth, found a clear path for his final run in early stretch and reached contention briefly but dropped away 300 meters out for 14th.

“It’s a little bit disappointing. I was told from the trainer that the horse just couldn’t quicken up. But we hope to come back again someday and do better,” said owner Alan Cooper.

“He was positioned well, but wasn’t able to quicken up in the straight. The reason to that, I don’t know,” trainer Francie-Henri Graffard said after the race.

“We were able to sit in fourth to fifth and be in good striking position, but he just couldn’t respond in the stretch,” commented jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot.

[Other Horses]
4th: (3) Gold Actor—chased leaders in 3rd, showed effort for 2nd until 100m out, weakened
5th: (16) Real Steel—sat in 4th, sustained bid until 200m out, weakened in last furlong
6th: (14) Rainbow Line—ran wide near rear, quickened between horses, but was too late
8th: (7) One and Only—tracked leader in 2nd, showed tenacity until 200m marker, outrun thereafter
9th: (4) Rouge Buck—raced in mid-group, lacked needed kick at stretch
10th: (6) Last Impact—forwardly positioned in 6th, sustained bid until 300m out, weakened
11th: (10) Tosen Basil—traveled in mid-pack, ran gamely until 300m out, outrun thereafter
13th: (9) Dee Majesty—rated near rear, angled out, never a threat
15th: (13) Hit the Target—trailed in rear, never fired at stretch
16th: (2) Biche—saved ground in mid-division, turned wide, unable to reach contention
17th: (11) Fame Game—hugged rails toward rear, advanced along backstretch, no factor at stretch

THE 36TH JAPAN CUP (G1) in association with Longines
– Japan Autumn International –

3-year-old & up, 2,400 meters (about 12 furlongs), turf, left-handed
Sunday, November 27, 2016    Tokyo Racecourse      11th Race        Post Time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 648,000,000 (about US$ 5,400,000 <US$1=¥120>)
3-y-o: 55 kg (about 121 lbs), 4-y-o & up: 57 kg (about 126 lbs)
2 kg allowance for Fillies & Mares, 2 kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2013
Safety factor: 18 runners

FP BK PP Horse Sex
1 1 1 Kitasan Black
C4 57.0 Black Tide
Sugar Heart
Y. Take
H. Shimizu
Ono Shoji
Yanagawa Bokujo
2 6 12 Sounds of Earth
H5 57.0 Neo Universe
First Violin
M. Demuro
K. Fujioka
Teruya Yoshida
Shadai Farm
3 8 17 Cheval Grand
C4 57.0 Heart’s Cry
Halwa Sweet
Y. Fukunaga
Y. Tomomichi
Kazuhiro Sasaki
Northern Racing
4 2 3 Gold Actor
H5 57.0 Screen Hero
Heilong Xing
H. Yoshida
T. Nakagawa
Hisayo Ishiro
Hokusho Farm
5 8 16 Real Steel
C4 57.0 Deep Impact
Loves Only Me
R. Moore
Y. Yahagi
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Farm
6 7 14 Rainbow Line
C3 55.0 Stay Gold
C. Lemaire
H. Asami
Masahiro Mita
Northern Racing
7 3 5 Iquitos*
C4 57.0 Adlerflug
I. Ferguson
H-J. Groschel
Stall Mulligan
Frau Dr Erika Buhmann
8 4 7 One and Only
H5 57.0 Heart’s Cry
H. Tanabe
S. Hashiguchi
Koji Maeda
North Hills Co,. Ltd.
9 2 4 Rouge Buck
F4 55.0 Manhattan Cafe
Ginger Punch
K. Tosaki
M. Otake
U. Carrot Farm
Northern Farm
10 3 6 Last Impact
H6 57.0 Deep Impact
Superior Pearl
Y. Kawada
K. Sumii
Silk Racing Co., Ltd.
Shadai Corporation Inc.
11 5 10 Tosen Basil
C4 57.0 Harbinger
Careless Whisper
H. Uchida
H. Fujiwara
Takaya Shimakawa
Northern Farm
12 8 15 Nightflower*
F4 55.0 Dylan Thomas
Night Of Magic
A. Starke
P. Schiergen
Stall Nizza
Jurgen Imm
13 5 9 Dee Majesty
C3 55.0 Deep Impact
Hermes Tiara
M. Ebina
Y. Ninomiya
Masaru Shimada
Masaru Shimada
14 4 8 Erupt*
C4 57.0 Dubawi
Mare Nostrum
P-C. Boudot
F-H. Graffard
Niarchos Family
Niarchos Family
15 7 13 Hit the Target
H8 57.0 King Kamehameha
F. Komaki
K. Kato
Shinji Maeda
North Hills Management
16 1 2 Biche
F3 53.0 Deep Impact
H. Miyuki
Y. Shikato
Yasushi Kubota
Northern Racing
17 6 11 Fame Game
G6 57.0 Heart’s Cry
Hall of Fame
H. Kitamura
Y. Munakata
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Farm
FP=Final Position / BK=Bracket Number / PP=Post Position / B=Blinker / Wgt=Weight / L3F=Time of Last 3 Furlongs (600m)
NOTE1: *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: ¥ 28,478,912,600 ATTENDANCE: 88,865

PAY-OFF (for ¥100)
WIN No.1 ¥380 BRACKET QUINELLA 1-6 ¥2,340 QUINELLA 1-12 ¥2,570
PLACE No.1 ¥150 QUINELLA PLACE 1-12 ¥910 EXACTA 1-12 ¥3,990
No.12 ¥290 1-17 ¥930 TRIO 1-12-17 ¥8,050
No.17 ¥330 12-17 ¥2,070 TRIFECTA 1-12-17 ¥36,260
  1. 1.Kitasan Black (JPN), bay, colt, 4-year-old
    Black Tide / Sugar Heart (Sakura Bakushin O)
    Owner: Ono Shoji Breeder: Yanagawa Bokujo  
    Trainer: Hisashi Shimizu Jockey: Yutaka Take  
    13 Starts, 8 Wins    
    Added money: ¥ 303,738,000 Career earnings: ¥ 946,531,000  
    Principal Race Performances: ’16 Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1, 3,200m) 1st
      ’15 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1, 3,000m) 1st
      ’16 Kyoto Daishoten (G2, 2,400m) 1st
      ’15 St. Lite Kinen (G2, 2,200m) 1st
      ’15 Spring Stakes (G2, 1,800m) 1st
      ’16 Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2,200m) 3rd
      ’15 Arima Kinen (G1, 2,500m) 3rd
      ’15 Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m) 3rd

  2. 2.Sounds of Earth (JPN), dark bay or brown, horse, 5-year-old
    Deep Impact / Loves Only Me (Storm Cat)
    Owner: Teruya Yoshida Breeder: Shadai Farm
    Trainer: Kenichi Fujioka Jockey: Mirco Demuro

  3. 3.Cheval Grand (JPN), chestnut, colt, 4-year-old
    Deep Impact / Kokoshnik (Kurofune)
    Owner: Kazuhiro Sasaki Breeder: Northern Racing
    Trainer: Yasuo Tomomichi Jockey: Yuichi Fukunaga
Fractional Time (sec./furlong): 13.3 - 11.3 - 12.6 - 12.3 - 12.2 - 12.5 - 12.7 - 12.3 - 11.9 - 11.2 - 11.4 - 12.1
Last 4 furlongs: 46.6     Last 3 furlongs: 34.7

Positions at each corner: 1st corner 1,7-(3,16)(8,6)(4,12)(2,17)10,14(11,5)(9,15)13
2nd corner 1-7(3,16)(8,6)(4,12)(2,17)10(11,14)5(13,9)15
3rd corner 1,7(3,16)(11,8,6)4(10,2,12)(5,17)14(13,9)15
4th corner 1(3,7,16)6(11,4,8)12(10,2,17)(5,14,9)(13,15)

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.

[Post Race Interview of Winning Connections]

Owner: Saburo Kitajima (Singer and president of Ono Shoji)
“I feel extremely fortunate to have had the chance to own a horse like Kitasan Black who has brought me such joy and hope and making my dreams come true by winning this race in my first challenge. It’s such a great joy to experience a victory like this – the first time in my 57 years as a horse owner – and this is all thanks to my trainer, Mr. Shimizu and Yutaka (Take) to whom I have absolute confidence. My brothers, my whole family, were with me today to share the triumph – tears in our eyes. I was especially moved by the big crowd that gathered to witness the race today and sang along with me, my song ‘Matsuri (Festival)’ which I sang in appreciation after the award presentation ceremony. Since I know that the fans will be expecting him to run in the Arima Kinen (The Grand Prix), although I would have to discuss the possibility according to his condition with my trainer, the year-end race is, of course, under consideration and I expect Take (“I won’t take no for an answer”) to ride him in that event.”

Trainer: Hisashi Shimizu
“Kitasan Black was in good condition coming into this race and he certainly showed the outcome in the best form today. I am also happy to have proved he is also capable over 2,400 meters at Tokyo Racecourse where he experienced his only big defeat (14th in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby)). I let Take make his decision as far as racing tactics and, watching the colt racing comfortably in front, I knew that he had plenty left in the tank coming into the stretch, so I was saying to myself, “He’s OK, he’s OK” – but in fact I don’t even remember the words I was yelling as the finish line drew near. As far as I know, there have been no talks about retiring the colt, so I assume he will stay in training next season. Overseas challenges such as the Dubai Sheema Classic and the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe is certainly of great interest, although this also will have to be discussed.”

Jockey: Yutaka Take
“I felt that the colt was in great condition coming into the race. Since none of the other horses were disputing for the lead I was able to have him comfortable and in good rhythm during the early part of the trip and 61 seconds or so in the first 1,000 meters worked out to be just fine considering the distance of the race as well as the track condition. So, entering the stretch, I had plenty of horse left under me and I was concentrating on reserving his best strides until the last 300 meters. He stretched incredibly well and I felt him really strong as he pulled away to a comfortable margin. Kitasan Black has become a big part of my career and it would be great if I could partner him in big races next year.”

* Japan Cup (G1)

The Japan Cup, in its 36th year, continues to attract some of the top turf horses from around the world—67 runners from North America, 142 from Europe, 25 from Oceania and five from Asia—while a number of runners have made this race their starting point towards further international success in following years.
Four foreign contenders ran in last year’s Japan Cup. Winner of the 2015 Gold Cup (G1, 4,000m), Trip To Paris (IRE, by Champs Elysees) from Great Britain finished 14th and Ito (GER, by Adlerflug) from Germany, victor of the 2015 Grosser Preis von Bayern (G1, 2,400m), finished 18th while Erupt and Nightflower finished sixth and 11th, respectively—both unable to find room for a clear run.
Two runners returned this year to make their second bid; winner of the 2015 Grand Prix de Paris (G1, 2,400m) Erupt from France came off his second G1 victory in the Canadian International Stakes (G1, 2,400m) while German contender Nightflower captured a consecutive Preis von Europe (G1, 2,400m) triumph this year. Iquitos, another raider from Germany and victor of this year’s Grosser Preis von Baden (G1, 2,400m) joined the challengers from abroad.
Last year’s Japan Cup champion Shonan Pandora (JPN, M5, by Deep Impact) suffered a fracture in her left foreleg after marking a third in this year’s Victoria Mile (G1, 1,600m) and was forced to retire recently. Although absent of the defending champion, 14 top-class home-team runners welcomed the foreign contenders in this year’s Japan Cup including the 2015 Arima Kinen (G1, 2,500m) winner Gold Actor who captured his fourth grade-race win in the All Comers (G2, 2,200m) in September.
Four runners prepped in the Kyoto Daishoten (G2, 2,400m) on Oct. 10; Kitasan Black, winner of the 2015 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger, G1, 3,000m) and 2016 Tenno Sho (Spring), claimed the race while last year’s Japan Cup’s runner-up Last Impact, 5th-place finisher Sounds of Earth, 13th-place finisher Hit the Target, turned in a seventh, fourth and fifth, respectively.
Two runners had come off their Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1, 2,000m) starts on October 30; this year’s Dubai Turf (G1, 1,800m) winner Real Steel was a 1-1/2-length second to Maurice (JPN, H5, by Screen Hero), while last year’s Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1, 2,400m) runner-up Rouge Buck was seventh.
Three Copa Republica Argentina (G2, 2,500m) finishers were also among the line-up; the winner, Cheval Grand, was a third-place finisher in this year’s Tenno Sho (Spring); fifth-place finisher Fame Game was runner-up in the 2015 Tenno Sho (Spring), and eighth-place One and Only was a winner in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1, 2,400m) in 2014.
Among the three-year-olds were this year’s Yushun Himba third-place finisher Biche, who had come off a disappointing 10th in the Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m). 2016 NHK Mile Cup (G1, 1,600m) third-place finisher Rainbow Line and Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m) victor Dee Majesty were entered off their Kikuka Sho starts where they were second and fourth, respectively.
Tosen Basil made his first G1 challenge in hopes of extending his winning streak to four following his October Stakes (2,400m) win.
Cumani-trained Alkaased (by Kingmambo), who won the race in 2005, is the record holder of this race at 2:22.1.

Japan Cup (G1) related contents