JRA Weekend Wrap: Jan. 9-11

TOKYO (TR) – Under unseasonably warm weather and dry tracks over the three-day weekend in Japan, the focus was on 3-year-olds at Kyoto and Nakayama racecourses in two Grade 3 events. With much of the field in both races coming in fresh from maiden victories, there was more uncertainty than usual. Let’s get to the results.

Graded Races
In the headliner, the 72,930,000-yen Nikkan Sports Sho Shinzan Kinen on Sunday in Kyoto, 8th ranked Logi Cry by Heart’s Cry upset the field to win the 1,600-meter one-turn race by a neck in 1:34.1 to pay 2,250 yen. Favorite Peace Mind tired early in the stretch and appeared to leave the contest to Logi Cry and dark horse Sigerunokogirizame until second-ranked Jeweler, under Mirco Demuro, dramatically charged in wide to take second.

On Monday in Nakayama, B B Barrel hung on in a well-timed race by jockey Syu Ishibashi to take the 67,420,000 yen Fairy Stakes for fillies wire to wire in 1:34.3. The favorite status was in the air all day shifting from Sea Breeze Love by Casino Drive to B B Barrel by Pyro before fixing on Lyceenne by Deep Impact. Queue du Lapin by Daiwa Major was game but gave it up with about 100 meters left in the race as 10th ranked Daiwa Dresser and 7th ranked Daiwa Duchess rallied for second and third place.

Main Stakes Races
Sammaru Duke took the 42,290,000-yen Pollux Stakes in an upset victory at Nakayama Racecourse on Saturday. The 12th ranked 7-year-old by Roses in May trailed until mid-backstretch before passing the field wide and nailing the 1,800-meter dirt race by two lengths in 1:52.5, paying 3,660 yen.

Favorite Laurel Veloce won the 1200 meter turf Yodo Tankyori Stakes on Saturday in the 11th at Kyoto in 1:07.8 to collect nearly half of the 44,120,000 yen purse. The 5-year-old by Sakura Bakushin O ran wire to wire winning by 3/4 of a length while holding off a good effort by 7-year-old Earth Sonic under Mirco Demuro.

Daiwa Liberal won the 44,100,000-yen, 1,600-meter turf New Years Stakes on Sunday in Nakayama in 1:34.3. The 5-year-old by Daiwa Major hung back mid-pack before turning it on at the 200 meter pole and holding off a blazing charge by favorite Grand Silk to win by a nose paying 630 yen.

Favorite Susan Joy won the 42,290,000 Yen 1,400-meter dirt Yamato Stakes on Monday in Kyoto. The 4-year-old colt by Empire Maker had no problem gliding in from the 15th post to take the lead three wide before getting on the rail just before the 800 meter pole. Though 3rd ranked Red Alvis under Christophe Lemaire made a good effort, Susan Jot won handily by a length in 1:23.5 paying 270 yen.

Other Races
Dragon Cup, the 58,000,000-yen colt by Stay Gold and Silver Cup, won his debut race in Kyoto by four lengths. Owner Yoshiro Kubota can knock 6,000,000 yen off his investment.

Irish jockey Shane Foley on a short-term riding jockey license won his first race on Saturday in the 8th race at Kyoto, his fifth race in Japan, aboard 4-year-old filly Vafuram by Harbinger.

Luis Contreras, also under a short-term license, caught his first win in Japan with 3-year-old Mendenhall by Admire Moon on Monday in the 5th at Nakayama.

A 252,000,000-yen investment Leukerbad by Deep Impact and Azeri paid another dividend to owner Toshio Terada by winning the 2,000-meter turf Fukujuso Tokubetsu in Kyoto on Monday. Jockey Yutaka Take rode the three-year-old colt most of the race in the 8th position of the field of ten before taking over in the stretch and handily winning by a half length ahead of second favorite Meisho Tachimachi. Punters were less fortunate with their investment as the win paid 140 yen. Leukerbad’s record is now 3-2-1-0 with 18,052,000 yen knocked off the bill.

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