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Posted 2023-10-29 10:59:02  
Equinox smashes course record in Tennon Sho Autumn win

Equinox Affirms Its World-Class Status with a Record-Breaking Victory in the Tenno Sho (Autumn)
In the presence of Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, Equinox, the heavy favorite, blazed a trail by setting a new track record, shaving off 0.9 seconds from the previous time, finishing the 2,000-meter race in a remarkable 1:55.2. This achievement marked Equinox as the third horse, following Symboli Kris S (2002-2003) and Almond Eye (2019-2020), to successfully defend its title in this year's Tenno Sho (Autumn). This win extended Equinox's winning streak, all at the prestigious G1 level, to five, starting from its victory in the same race last year and followed by the Arima Kiken (2,500m), the 2023 Dubai Sheema Classic (2,410m), and the Takarazuka Kinen (2,200m) earlier this spring. Trainer Tetsuya Kimura claimed his sixth JRA-G1 title, with the latest win in the Takarazuka Kinen, while jockey Christophe Lemaire, fresh off his Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) victory with Durezza last week, secured his 47th JRA-G1 title, marking his fifth Tenno Sho (Autumn) victory after previous wins with Rey de Oro in 2018, Almond Eye in 2019 and 2020, and Equinox in the prior year.

In a race where all eleven starters broke smoothly, Equinox maintained an excellent forward position just off the rails in third place, closely following Jack d'Or, the early leader who set a rapid pace of 57.7 seconds for the first half (1,000 meters). Equinox closed in on Gaia Force, who took the lead at the 400-meter pole, and with 300 meters to go, Equinox effortlessly overtook the competition, ultimately clinching victory by 2-1/2 lengths.

Christophe Lemaire, reflecting on the win, expressed, "I'm relieved to have shown the world that our race favorite truly deserves the title of the highest-rated colt. While he may not possess exceptional speed, he demonstrated his ability to keep up with today's rapid pace and kick into high gear at the end. I was pleasantly surprised by our record-breaking win. Equinox is a versatile horse that can perform from any position, maintain composure during the race, and harness his speed when needed. He's also capable of excelling at longer distances, as demonstrated in his Arima Kinen victory. Despite the immense pressure of being the race favorite in such a prestigious event, I was confident in his capabilities."

Justin Palace, the sixth pick, took a patient approach, staying well behind the leader more than 10 lengths during the backstretch. However, he made a strong push in the final stretch, timing the fastest over the last three furlongs to secure the runner-up position, although he couldn't catch the winner.

The third favorite, Prognosis, initially lagged in the rear during the first half of the race. Nonetheless, he joined the pack rounding the final turn and, after shifting out for a clear stretch run, launched an impressive rally for second place. While he was beaten by Justin Palace at the 100-meter mark, he managed to secure third place by a head over Danon Beluga. 

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