where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2024-06-23 11:38:35  

Blow the Horn, the third favorite, secured his first G1 victory at this year’s Takarazuka Kinen. Initially trained by Eiji Nakano, this son of Epiphaneia debuted as a two-year-old in November.

Blow The Horn earns a spot in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar later this year as a Challenge series winner.

He broke his maiden in his ninth career start in June (Hakodate, 2,000m) at three and won again in December (Nakayama, 2,500m). Last year, as a four-year-old, he achieved three victories over distances between 2,200 and 2,600 meters but had to pull up in the Kyoto Daishoten (G2, 2,400m) in October due to atrial fibrillation. This season, Blow the Horn started strong, winning his first graded title in the Nikkei Shinshun Hai (Kyoto, G2, 2,400m) in January. After his trainer retired, he moved to a new stable, finishing third in the Hanshin Daishoten (G2, 3,000m) and second in the Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1, 3,200m) at Kyoto Racecourse on April 28.

Trainer Tatsuya Yoshioka, who established his stable in 2020, celebrated his fifth graded win and first G1 title, while jockey Akira Sugawara, who debuted in 2019, secured his tenth graded and first G1 victory.

In the Takarazuka Kinen, five-year-old Blow the Horn broke smoothly from stall 12, settling second from last, just outside the race favorite. During the uphill climb in the backstretch, the Epiphaneia bay advanced from the outside, turned the final corners wide, and passed his rivals in the lane. He took the lead 100 meters out and pulled away with a powerful late kick, marking the tied fastest three furlongs for a comfortable two-length victory.

“We won because the horse ran really hard despite the heavy going. Although we were further back than planned and took the widest route, he had plenty of strength left at the fourth corner, so I urged him on at the stretch, and he responded with a remarkable turn of speed,” commented jockey Akira Sugawara.

Seventh pick Sol Oriens, last year’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m) winner, settled wide around seventh. He lost position turning the last corners wide, entering the stretch in 12th. Though he had too much ground to make up, he launched the tied fastest late drive to secure second just before the wire by a neck.

Fifth choice Bellagio Opera, this year’s Osaka Hai (G1, 2,000m) champion, chased the pace in fourth, rallied for the lead after the third corner, and briefly took command before the 200-meter pole. However, he soon surrendered the lead and was edged out by Sol Oriens for third, holding off Pradaria by a neck.

Race favorite Do Deuce traveled in the rear, taking the inner course after entering the stretch, but was unable to catch up with the leaders, finishing sixth. 

4th: Pradaria (7) – Tracked the leader in second place, rallied for the lead at the stretch, but weakened in the final strides.

5th: Rousham Park (10) – Raced around ninth early on, made headway in the backstretch to rally for the lead at the final corner, but failed to sustain the bid and briefly met traffic 200 meters out.

7th: Deep Bond (5) – Sat wide around fifth position, showed effort at the early stretch, but was unable to keep up with the top finishers.

8th: Rouge Eveil (13) – Set the pace on the rails, angled out to the stretch, but faded after 100 meters out.

9th: Yamanin Sympa (11) – Trailed in the rear, advanced after 1,200 meters to go, but lacked the needed kick.

10th: Justin Palace (2) – Traveled around seventh, driven near the favorite but failed to respond.

11th: Struve (1) – Took an economic trip around ninth, briefly made headway, but showed little at the stretch.

12th: Heat on Beat (6) – Saved ground around fifth, advanced to third at one point, but faded after the third corner.

13th: Karate (8) – Stalked the leader in second early on but gradually dropped back.



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