Titleholder Streaks To Hanshin Course Record In Takarazuka Kinen, Earns Breeders’ Cup Turf Berth

Hiroshi Yamada’s Titleholder took control inside the final quarter mile and swept to a two-length victory in course-record time in the 1 3/8-mile Takarazuka Kinen (G1) Sunday at Hanshin Racecourse.

With the victory, Titleholder earned an automatic starting position and fees paid into the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) November 5 at Keeneland through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge “Win and You’re In” series.

Registering his third Group 1 triumph, Titleholder, now six of 12 lifetime, completed the 1 3/8 miles in 2:09.7 on a course listed as to good to firm.

The 4-1 second choice in the 17-horse field, Titleholder made a smooth break from stall six and settled in second along the backstretch, three lengths behind 10-1 Panthalassa. Titleholder gradually closed in on the leader approaching the last two corners and, after drawing even with Panthalassa entering the stretch, easily pulled away with powerful strides for a comfortable victory over Hishi Iguazu.

“This was my fourth race with Titleholder and I knew how the colt could run in good rhythm,” said winning rider Kazuo Yokoyama. “The pace was fast, but I wasn’t concerned because he still had enough power left in the straight. He’s still in the process of maturing and I think he’ll get better going forward.”

Following the race, winning trainer Toru Kurita indicated that Titleholder would be pointed next to the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), also a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, on October 2 at Longchamp in Paris.

Hishi Iguazu, the 9-1 fifth choice, broke well to settle around sixth by the rail, angled out slightly after the third corner and launched the fastest late drive to pass his rivals one by one in the last 300 meters but failed to close in on the winner while securing the runner-up spot.

Daring Tact, the 2020 Fillies’ Triple Crown winner, sat in 10th place just behind Efforia, the 3-1 favorite. She made headway on the outer path passing the 1,000-meter point, showed the second fastest late kick and, although unable to threaten the top two finishers, nosed out Deep Bond right before the wire to finish third.

Meiner Fanrong finished fifth, followed by Efforia in sixth, Win Marilyn in seventh, and Panthalassa in eighth in the field of 17.

The Takarazuka Kinen was Titleholder’s fourth win from his last five starts. He captured the 1 7/8-mile Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) (G1) wire to wire at Hanshin last October, and after closing the year with a fifth-place finish in the Arima Kinen (G1) on December 26, he opened 2022 with a front-running score in the 1 9/16-mile Nikkei Sho (G2) at Nakayama on March 26. Prior to the Takarazuka Kinen, he won the two-mile Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1) at Hanshin by seven lengths on May 1.

Titleholder is a 4-year-old son of Duramante out of Mowen, by Motivator, and was bred by Okada Stud. He is the third horse to earn a Breeders’ Cup Challenge berth into this year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf, joining Village King, winner of the Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini (G1) in Argentina, and State of Rest, who won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot.

As a part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Titleholder to start in the Breeders’ Cup Turf. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.

The post Titleholder Streaks To Hanshin Course Record In Takarazuka Kinen, Earns Breeders’ Cup Turf Berth appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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