Tower of London outruns rivals to dominate Sprinters Stakes

Second favorite Tower of London marked his fifth grade-race win in this year’s G1 Sprinters Stakes (1200m) at Nakayama on Sunday. The four-year-old colt registered three wins out of five starts as a two-year-old which included the G2 Keio Hai Nisai Stakes (1,400m) and also finished third in the G1 Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (1,600m) at the end of the season. 

In his three-year-old campaign last year, the son of Raven’s Pass captured the G3 Arlington Cup (1,600m) but encountered disadvantages in his G1 NHK Mile Cup (1,600m) challenge and was heavily defeated to 12th. After winning the G2 Keio Hai Spring Cup (1,400m) earlier this season, the bay colt was switched to races at the 1,200m distance and had immediately showed potential by marking a third in the G3 Hakodate Sprint Stakes in June, a  second in the G3 Keeneland Cup in August and dominating the G2 Centaur Stakes in record-breaking time just three weeks earlier. 

Tower of London has given trainer Kazuo Fujisawa his 29th JRA-G1 victory—Fujisawa’s most recent title was the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) with Gran Alegria this year—and his second Sprinters Stakes title following the 1997 victory with Taiki Shuttle. Jockey Christophe Lemaire’s most recent JRA-G1 win was with Fierement in the Tenno Sho (Spring) this year and he has now collected a total of 26 titles.

The race broke evenly with Mozu Superflare gunning for the lead and setting the pace as expected. Sitting in mid-field stalking first pick Danon Smash down the backstretch, Tower of London launched his bid as he swiftly angled out after the third corner and entered the lane four wide with a clear path in front of him. Gliding up the stretch with a good turn of foot, the four-year-old bay swooped past Mr Melody 100 meters out and caught pacesetter Mozu Superflare in the final strides for a half-length win.

“I was a bit worried that we were not in a good striking position since the fast track today at Nakayama was definitely an advantage for the frontrunners. We had our eyes on Danon Smash who was traveling on the rails so we shifted out. Tower of London has great talent and stretched strongly all the way to the wire today. I knew he was an exceptional horse but he’s getting stronger with every sprint start,” commented Christophe Lemaire after the race.

Sent off third favorite, four-year-old filly Mozu Superflare dashed to the front to set the pace, and stubbornly held on well but was unable to withstand the fast-closing Tower of London and finished a good second, demonstrating a much better performance than her disappointing defeat (15th) earlier this year in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen. Race favorite Danon Smash, breaking from an inner stall, saved ground on the rails in front of Tower of London in mid-division. While the eventual winner made a smooth wide turn for his stretch run, the Keeneland Cup winner was a fraction late to slide out behind a pack of horses and although ran strongly down the straight, was short in tagging Mozu Superlfare but dug in for a neck third.

3-year-olds & up, 1,200 meters (about 6 furlongs), turf, right-handed
Sunday, September 29, 2019  Nakayama Racecourse     11th Race        Post time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 238,600,000 (about US$ 2,075,000 <US$1=¥115>)

1. Tower of London (JPN), bay, colt, 4-year-olds
Raven’s Pass / Snow Pine (Dalakhani)
Owner: Godolphin Breeder: Darley Japan K. K
Trainer: Kazuo Fujisawa Jockey: Christophe Lemaire
14 Starts, 7 Wins
Added money: ¥ 113,444,000 Career earnings: ¥ 397,470,000
2. Mozu Superflare (USA), chestnut, filly, 4-year-olds
Speightstown / Christies Treasure (Belong to Me)
Owner: Capital System Co., Ltd. Breeder: Alpha Delta Stables, LLC
Trainer: Hidetaka Otonashi Jockey: Fuma Matsuwaka
3. Danon Smash (JPN), bay, colt, 4-year-olds
Lord Kanaloa / Spinning Wildcat (Hard Spun)
Owner: Danox Co., Ltd. Breeder: K. I. Farm
Trainer: Takayuki Yasuda Jockey: Yuga Kawada

Other Horses:
4th: (13) Mr Melody—ran 3-wide in 6th, made headway to 2nd entering lane, weakened in last 100m
5th: (5) Let’s Go Donki—sat 2nd from rear, turned wide, showed 2nd fastest late drive but belatedly
6th: (12) Daimei Princess—raced 3-wide around 10th, ran gamely, 4th at 200m marker, weakened in last 100m
7th: (14) Happy Hour—was off slow, trailed in far rear, timed fastest over last 600m, was too late
8th: (6) No One—traveled in 13th, circled wide, showed belated charge at stretch
9th: (4) Linate—hugged rails in 12th, angled out then switched to inside, unable to reach contention
10th: (1) Ares Barows—settled 3rd from rear, drifted turning final corner, passed tired rivals
11th: (15) Iberis—ran 3-wide around 4-5th, lacked needed kick in last 200m
12th: (3) Seiun Kosei—sat around 4-5th, struggled to find clear path at early stretch, showed little
13th: (9) Dirndl—raced around 7th in front of favorite, overtaken by rivals turning both corners, even paced
14th: (11) Maltese Apogee—tracked leader in 2nd, lost steam after 200m pole
15th: (10) Love Kampf—traveled 3-wide around 9th, outrun after 3rd corner
16th: (16) Fantasist—advanced to 3rd from widest draw, faded after entering straight
Fractional time (sec./furlong): 11.9 - 10.1 - 10.8 - 11.3 - 11.2 - 11.8
 Last 4 furlongs: 45.1 Last 3 furlongs: 34.3