Electrifying Stretch Run Puts Contrail In Position To Sweep Japanese Triple Crown

Undefeated Contrail put himself into position to become the eighth Japanese Triple Crown winner on Sunday, winning the 87th running of the Grade 1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) with an electrifying burst of speed in the final 400 meters of the Tokyo Race Course under jockey Yuichi Fukunaga to draw clear by three lengths over Salios. Weltreisende finished third in the field of 18 3-year-olds.

Sent away as the 2-5 favorite off a convincing victory in the G1 Satsuki Sho on April 19, the son of Deep Impact out of Rhodochrosite, by Unbridled’s Song, completed 2,400 meters (1 ½ miles) on firm turf in 2:24.10. Course record for the distance is 2:20.60.

Bred by North Hills Co., Ltd., and owned by Shinji Maeda, Contrail – now 5-for-5 – is trained by Yoshito Yahagi, who previously won the Derby with Deep Brillante in 2012.

Yahagi indicated he would point Contrail for the final leg of the Japanese Triple Crown – the Kikuka Sho (St. Leger) over 3,000 meters  (1 7/8 miles) – in October.

Contrail broke sharply and saved ground much of the way while forwardly placed by Fukunaga. Once the field straightened into the long Tokyo Race Course stretch, Contrail found an open lane, but his jockey didn’t ask the colt until the final 300 meters. When he did, the race was over in a flash.

“I was just focusing on finishing this race on a high note and although he still has room for improvement—he tends to lose his focus when he’s leading—he still is able to win like he did today, so he’s got great potential and there’s a lot to look forward to in this colt,” Fukunaga said.

Fractions for each of the 12 furlongs were: 12.6 – 11.3 – 12.9 – 12.6 – 12.3 – 11.8 – 12.2 – 12.3 – 11.8 – 11.3 – 11.3 – 11.7. The last 4 furlongs were run in 46.1, with the final 3 furlongs run in 34.3.

Contrail’s sire, the late Deep Impact, by U.S. Horse of the Year Sunday Silence, won the Japanese Triple Crown in 2005, was two-time Horse of the Year in Japan and eight times leading sire there.

The Derby winner’s dam, Rhodochrosite, was bred in Kentucky by Robert and Beverly Lewis, sold at Keeneland as a yearling and raced in Japan. Rhodochrosite was produced from 2005 U.S. champion 2-year-old filly Folklore, bred and raced by the Lewises and winner of that year’s G1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Belmont Park.

The quality in Contrail’s female family goes back generations: her eighth dam is Ogden Phipps’ Striking, a broodmare of the year and granddaughter of the important breed influencer La Troienne.

Among those who won both the Satsuki Sho (2,000 meters, 1 ¼ miles) and Derby, only seven in the past went on to claim the Kikuka Sho successfully becoming JRA’s Triple Crown winner—the last being Orfevre (JPN, by Stay Gold) in 2011.

One of the most popular races on the JRA calendar (the Derby attracted a record crowd of 196,517 in 1990), the Tokyo Yushun – like all Japanese races since late February – was run before an empty grandstand with no spectators permitted because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Wagering on the 12-race card from Tokyo Race Course, conducted by telephone and computer account wagering in Japan, totaled $349,219,799, with $216,671,174 bet on the Derby itself. Prize money for the Derby was approximately $4 million.

The post Electrifying Stretch Run Puts Contrail In Position To Sweep Japanese Triple Crown appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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