Favored Efforia Proves Best In Japan’s Season-Ending Arima Kinen

Carrot Farm Co. Ltd’s once-beaten 3-year-old colt Efforia rallied from mid-pack under Takeshi Yokoyama to score a three-quarter-length victory over Deep Bond in Sunday’s season-ending Arima Kinen, a Group 1 fixture for 3-year-olds and up run for the 66th time at Nakayama Racecourse in Tokyo, Japan. Total prize money was almost $6.2 million.

The son of Epiphaneia (by the Kris S. stallion Symboli Kris S) was bred in Japan by Katsumi Yoshida’s Northern Farm and trained by Yuichi Shikato. He covered 2,500 meters (about 12 1/2 furlongs) in 2:32 on good to firm turf and paid 210 yen on a 100 yen bet. Longshot Deep Bond tried to keep up with Efforia in the final furlong of the Arima Kinen but the winner was just too good. Chrono Genesis, second choice in the betting and winner of this race in 2020, was third in the field of 16 runners.

The Arima Kinen field is determined by a combination of top earners and a popular vote among Japanese racing fans.

The win was the sixth in seven starts for Efforia, who was produced from Katies Heart, a daughter of the Sunday Silence stallion Heart’s Cry. Two of his previous wins came in G1 races, the Satsuki-sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) in spring and the Tenno-sho in autumn. Efforia’s only career defeat came when second to Shahryar in the G1 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) on May 30.

Jockey Takeshi Yokoyama is the son of active rider Norihiro Yokoyama, who won the 1996 Arima Kinen, making them the second father and son duo to be victorious in the race. The first was Kunihiko Take and his son Yutaka.

Panthalassa went to the front to set a quick pace and opened a lengthy early lead, with Efforia tracking prime rival Chrono Genesis – the 2020 Arima Kinen winner – for much of the way while racing to the outside in mid-pack on the clockwise-running course. He moved up to loom a threat on the stretch turn as the front-runner began to tire and took a narrow lead inside the furlong pole. Deep Bond gave a valiant effort to be second best.

“He wasn’t in the same perfect condition today as in the Tenno Sho in which he was 120%, but his potential proved he still could give a remarkable performance even with the added distance – 2,500 meters is the longest he’s ever run,” said Yokoyama. “Unlike in the Derby, he was relaxed and positioned well and was able to show his true strength.”

Attendance was limited because of COVID-19, with a crowd of 6,140 reported on a day that historically would see more than 100,000 fans on-track.  A total of $549,500,188 was wagered throughout Japan on the 12-race Nakayama program that is traditionally the biggest betting day of the year for the Japan Racing Association. A total of $429,077,971 was wagered on the Arima Kinen itself.

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