This year’s Satsuki Sho was won by seventh favorite Epoca d’Oro followed by ninth pick Sans Rival in second and eighth choice Generale Uno in third, causing an upset in the first leg of the Triple Crown.
Epoca d’Oro, finishing third in his debut start last October, marked two consecutive wins entering this season and was qualified to race in the Satsuki Sho by coming in second in the previous Spring Stakes. This win was the ninth JRA-G1 victory for trainer Hideaki Fujiwara and seventh for jockey Keita Tosaki—first since the 2016 Victoria Mile with Straight Girl for both.
This win marked the father-and-son victory as his sire, Orfevre, was a Triple Crown winner in 2011. One of Orfevre fillies, Lucky Lilac, has also won the 2017 Hanshin juvenile Fillies.
Epoca d’Oro, breaking sharply from stall seven, rallied for the lead but eventually settled in fourth and traveled at his own pace while the first three runners led by Aithon set a fast pace. With over a ten-length gap between the frontrunners, the son of Orfevre continued to lead the remaining field at a sound pace down the backstretch, diligently closed the gap turning the last two corners and, though with still some gap at the top of the stretch, unleashed a powerful drive in the lane to overtake the front 100 meters out and pulled away to a two-length victory.
“I was able to position him as planned. He ran in good rhythm and responded well rounding the final corner. He’s a smart horse and is developing with each race. His powerful run today shows that he will have no problem handling the extra distance in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby),” commented Keita Tosaki.
Ninth choice Sans Rival, also breaking smoothly from stall 14, settled right behind Epoca d’Oro in fifth and continued to stalk the eventual winner until the wire with an impressive late charge to finish second. Eighth favorite Generale Uno made a good break and pressed the fast pace set by Aithon in second.
The son of Screen Hero briefly inherited the lead 200 meters out but was soon dislodged by Epoca d’Oro then Sans Rival in the last 100 meters while managing to hold off the strong challenge by second-pick Stelvio by a neck.
Odds-on-favorite Wagnerian broke smoothly and eased back towards the rear. Driven after the third corner, the Deep Impact colt turned wide but was unable to display his trademark late charge at the homestretch and finish seventh.
THE 78TH SATSUKI SHO (JAPANESE 2000 GUINEAS, G1)
3-year-old Colts & Fillies, 2,000 meters (about 10 furlongs), turf, right-handed
Sunday, April 15, 2018 Nakayama Racecourse 11th Race Post time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 238,600,000 (about US$ 2,170,000 <US$1=¥110>)
1. Epoca d’Oro (JPN), dark bay or brown, colt, 3-year-old
Orfevre / Daiwa Passion (Forty Niner)
Owner: K. Hidaka Breeders Union Breeder: Toru Tagami
Trainer: Hideaki Fujiwara Jockey: Keita Tosaki
5 Starts, 3 Wins
Added money: ¥ 134,871,000 Career earnings: ¥ 174,212,000
2. Sans Rival (JPN), bay, colt, 3-year-old
Rulership / Un Fil Rouge (Agnes Tachyon)
Owner: Kyoko Habata Breeder: Breeder: Y. S. Stud
Trainer: Kenichi Fujioka Jockey: Yusuke Fujioka
3. Generale Uno (JPN), dark bay or brown, colt, 3-year-old
Screen Hero / Shanghai Rock (Rock of Gibraltar)
Owner: G RiviereꞏRacing Co., Ltd. Breeder: Shinsei Farm
Trainer: Eiichi Yano Jockey: Hironobu Tanabe
4th: (15) Stelvio―ran near rear, turned wide, quickened and tied fastest over last 3 furlongs, was too late
5th: (5) Kitano Commandeur―raced wide near rear, showed belated charge, tied fastest over last 3 furlongs
6th: (12) Grail―trailed in rear, accelerated between horses, tied fastest over last 3 furlongs
8th: (6) Aithon―set pace, led until 200m out, overtaken by rivals in last 100m
9th: (3) Gendarme―traveled around 11-12th, showed effort, weakened in last 100m
10th: (1) Time Flyer―positioned around 9th, even paced
11th: (8) K T Clever―ran in 5-6th behind eventual winner, sustained bind until 100m out
12th: (9) Oken Moon―sat near rear early, made headway after 3rd corner, lacked needed kick
13th: (11) Meiner Fanrong―raced wide in 7th, ran willingly until 200m out, weakened
14th: (13) Double Sharp―traveled wide around 10th, failed to respond at stretch
15th: (16) Jun Valerot―chased leaders in 3rd from widest draw, fell back at stretch
16th: (4) Three Helios―saved ground in 8-9th, faded after 3rd corner
Fractional time (sec./furlong): 12.6 - 11.0 - 11.9 - 11.5 - 12.2 - 11.9 - 12.4 - 12.4 - 12.7 - 12.2
Last 4 furlongs: 49.7 Last 3 furlongs: 37.3