2019 Kentucky Derby expands to Japan's 'eager betting market'

April 17, 2019 02:46pm
2019 Kentucky Derby expands to Japan's 'eager betting market'
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With the requirement that the Japan-based Master Fencer enters the 2019 Kentucky Derby, the Japan Racing Association will take bets on the May 4 race, a Churchill Downs spokesman said Wednesday.

Darren Rogers, Churchill Downs’ senior director of communications and media services, said track officials were informed that under JRA law, those wagers will accumulate in a separate Japanese pool.

“Anytime you can globally expand the Kentucky Derby into a larger audience, that’s a great thing for all of racing, especially in an eager betting market like Japan,” Rogers said.

The Kentucky Derby is also expected to be televised in Japan on what will end up the first Sunday in May, just before 8 a.m. local time.

While money wagered into the separate pool won’t necessarily help American players hoping to see Japanese bettors sway the odds on their longshot contender, a portion of the takeout will benefit U.S. horsemen similar to American parimutuel plays.

Master Fencer, campaigned by Katsumi and Yasuyo Yoshizawa, is trained by Koichi Tsunoda and will have Julien Leparoux in the irons. The son of Just a Way has registered two victories and two runner-up finishes in six starts with earnings of $234,392.

Master Fencer is on pace to become the first Japan=bred colt to ever run in the Derby. He would be the third horse from his country to compete in the race following Ski Captain (14th in 1995) and Lani (ninth in 2016).

Churchill Downs officials invited Master Fencer’s connections to the Derby after the March 31 Fukuryu Stakes. With a runner-up finish, the chestnut colt emerged as the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby’s top point earner who was also Triple Crown-nominated.


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