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JRA | 5 KEEP ON RUNNINGSodashi, an extremely rare all-white lly, made headlines as the only white horse to ever land G1 titles, rst in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies last year and then a Classic title in the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) this spring. The standout runner has also generated booming merchandise sales, including toy replicas of herself and other favorite racehorses. In-deed, some fans in Japan go to races not so much to place wagers but to follow the horses they idolize. Goods related to popular runners began to ll the shelves in 1989, starting with a uffy replica of much-loved Oguri Cap. In 2004, Turfy, a uffy mascot co-produced by JRA and Sanrio, made a splashy popular debut in the racing world. Since then, many other prod-ucts have attracted great popularity, including collaborations with Sanrio’s agship character, Hello Kitty.RACEHORSES AS IDOLS OF THE GENERAL PUBLICEXCITING EVENTS IN THE UPCOMING AUTUMN G1 SEASONThis year’s Tenno Sho (Autumn) will draw great attention with a eld that is expected to feature three or more classic winners, including Gran Alegria, the highest-rated mare in the Longines World’s Best Racehorse Rankings, Contrail, the 2020 Japanese Triple Crown winner, and Efforia, this year’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) victor. Also, 2021 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner Shahryar, who failed to show his true potential due to the soggy conditions in the Kobe Shimbun Hai (G2) in late September, nishing fourth, is expected to bounce back on rm ground in the upcoming races. Meanwhile, bold overseas challengers this fall will in-clude Chrono Genesis (four-time G1 winner, including this year’s Takarazu-ka Kinen) and Deep Bond (wire-to-wire Prix Foy winner) in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe; and Loves Only You (victor of Hong Kong’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup in April) in the Breeders’ Cup.A major renewal is also under-way at Kyoto Racecourse to com-memorate its 100th anniversary in 2025. While the course will retain its original design, it will be enhanced with better track drain-age and fully renovated facilities, including a saddling enclosure, veterinary clinic and testing barn. The Grand Swan main stand will be newly built and the adjacent Big Swan stand will be upgraded with a new interior and new facil-ities. In addition, the old circular paddock will feature a new oval shape for more direct views of horses. Also, the terrace area will be refurbished to create a peace-ful and refreshing atmosphere surrounded by greenery. Kyoto Racecourse, which has been closed since last November, will reopen for racing in April 2023 and welcome back its rst G1 with the Tenno Sho (Spring).KYOTO RACECOURSE CONSTRUCTION ADVANCES TO NEXT STAGEHORSE RACING TOPICS IN JAPANCONTRAILLOVES ONLY YOUEFFORIACHRONO GENESISGRAN ALEGRIASHAHRYARSodashiSodashi replicasRendering of renovated Kyoto Racecourse

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