In this year’s Takamatsunomiya Kinen, which became the first JRA-G1 race to be held without spectators due to the outbreak of the COVID-19, ninth pick Mozu Superflare claimed her first G1 title while crossing the wire in second, as Kurino Gaudi was demoted to fourth place due to an interference.
This is the first case in JRA-G1 history, in which a horse who crossed the wire first was demoted, since Buena Vista was demoted to second in the 2010 Japan Cup. Mozu Superflare, only raced in 1,200m and 1,400m races since her debut, attained her first graded victory in last year’s Ocean Stakes (G3, 1,200m) and though finishing a disappointing 15th in the following Takamatsunomiya Kinen, marked a runner-up effort in the Sprinters Stakes (G1, 1,200m) in September.
She kicked off this season with a fourth in the Silk Road Stakes (G3, 1,200m) on February 2. This win marked trainer Hidetaka Otonashi’s 13th JRA-G1 victory following the Champions Cup with Chrysoberyl in December last year. Jockey Fuma Matsuwaka celebrated his first JRA-G1 victory and seventh graded win since debuting in 2014.
The field of 18 broke smoothly with fourth pick Diatonic dashing out but easing back to let Mozu Superflare take the front followed by sixth pick Seiun Kosei and 15th pick Kurino Gaudi. While Mozu Superflare, still leading the field entering the lane, accelerated strongly for a wire-to-wire victory, Kurino Gaudi, followed by Diatonic, closed in from the outside, and caught up with the leader 100 meters out.
Second choice Gran Alegria, who took the outer route turning the corners after traveling 5-6th from the rear, produced an impressive burst of speed, running the tied fastest of the field in the last three furlongs, and caught up with the front three horses 50 meters out to unfold a four-horse rally before the wire.
After a long inquiry, Kurino Gaudi, who crossed the wire first, was demoted to fourth for interfering with Mozu Superflare and Diatonic 100m out, giving Mozu Superflare her first G1 title. Gran Alegria and Diatonic who came in third and fourth were promoted to second and third, respectively.
“She broke well as I hoped she would and was able race in her own rhythm. With the sun coming out in the afternoon, the ground was not as bad as we had anticipated, which I think worked in her favor. To be honest, I thought that we had lost when we crossed the wire but I’m genuinely happy that we were able to win our first G1 title,” commented Fuma Matsuwaka.
Race favorite Tower of London broke well, traveled in mid-division and turned wide around the last corner to make bid but was unable to exert his usual strong late kick and finish 12th.
THE 50TH TAKAMATSUNOMIYA KINEN (G1)
4-year-olds & up, 1,200 meters (about 6 furlongs), turf, left-handed
Sunday, March 29, 2020 Chukyo Racecourse 11th Race Post time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 281,800,000 (about US$ 2,610,000 <US$1=¥108>)
4-y-o & up: 57kg (about 126 lbs),
2kg allowance for Fillies & Mares, 1kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2016
Course Record: 1:06.7 Race Record: 1:06.7 [Big Arthur (JPN, by Sakura Bakushin O), 2016]
Safety factor: 18 runners Going: Yielding Weather: Fine
5th: (17) Shivaji—settled around 15th, angled out, showed terrific late kick, tied fastest over last 3 furlongs
6th: (7) Groove It—took economic trip around 15th, angled out, responded well, 3rd fastest over last 3
7th: (12) Seiun Kosei—tracked leader in 2nd, ran gamely but weakened in last 100m
8th: (4) Teehaff—sat around 8th, switched to outside, showed effort, overtaken by rivals in last 100m
9th: (1) Stelvio—hugged rails around 8th, ran willingly until 200m pole, weakened thereafter
10th: (6) Danon Smash—was off a bit slow, ran 3-wide in 7th, met traffic at early stretch, never fired
11th: (2) A Will a Way—raced around 8th, showed brief effort, never a threat
13th: (14) Mozu Ascot—sat 2nd from rear, passed tired rivals at stretch
14th: (15) Nac Venus—advanced around 4th from wide draw, gradually fell back
15th: (18) Normcore—ran 4-wide around 8th, faded after turning 4th corner
16th: (5) Love Kampf—prominent early around 4th, faded after 4th corner
17th: (13) Daimei Princess—traveled 3-wide around 13th, outrun after 3rd corner
18th: (10) I Love Tailor—trailed in far rear, no factor
Fractional time (sec./furlong): 12.1 - 10.8 - 11.3 - 11.4 - 11.2 - 11.9
Last 4 furlongs: 45.8 Last 3 furlongs: 34.5