Japan’s France Go De Ina Takes First Tour Of Pimlico Course

Yuji Inaida’s France Go de Ina had Pimlico Race Course all to himself Monday morning. After arriving on Saturday night, the Japanese invader got his first look at the racetrack at 10:15 a.m.

The expected longshot in Saturday’s 146th Preakness Stakes (G1), got his first look at the track when he and exercise rider Masaki Takano came on the track after regular training hours in accordance with quarantine regulations. They walked a lap around the track the opposite way and then jogged around the right way another time. Then it was back to the quarantine barn, which is a few barns away from the stakes barn.

“He just stretched his legs,” said Kate Hunter. the Preakness field representative for the Japan Racing Association. “It was pretty easy because there were no other horses around. He was able to relax, check everything out and see everything really well because it was nice and sunny. He seemed very relaxed.”

France Go de Ina, who was bred in Kentucky, is a son of Will Take Charge.

According to Hunter, trainer Hideyuki Mori flew into Dulles International Airport Monday morning and was due to be at the barn to check on his horse Monday afternoon.

France Go de Ina has two wins in four career starts. In his last race, he finished sixth, beaten 10 ½ lengths, in the UAE Derby (G2) in Dubai. Jockey Joel Rosario, who rode him in that race, will be on board in the Preakness.

“I would assume so,” Hunter said when asked if she thought France Go de Ina would be a long price on Preakness Day. “Our dirt horses are not as good as our turf horses, but (Mori) would not be here if he didn’t think he had a shot at it.”

Original hopes were that France Go de Ina might run in the Kentucky Derby (G1), but he lost any chance of getting qualifying points when he missed the break and finished sixth in the UAE Derby.

“The moment that race broke, I said, ‘Hey, if you want to try the other two legs of the Triple Crown, you’re nominated, so we can go for it if you want to,’” Hunter said. “When the horse came out of the UAE Derby OK, that’s what (Mori) decided to do.”

Hunter has lived outside of Tokyo for the last 13 years and is a Triple Crown recruiting agent. She said she also works for the Breeders’ Cup and Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Ky.

She said she also works “a little” on a contract basis with The Stronach Group and the New York Racing Association. She is originally from Nashville, Tenn.

Hunter said France Go de Ina’s entourage also includes a photographer in addition to Mori and Takano, who also serves as assistant trainer and groom.

“We want to make sure he is fit and sound and ready to go,” Hunter said, “and, hopefully, kick a little American-trained butt.”

The post Japan’s France Go De Ina Takes First Tour Of Pimlico Course appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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