Master Fencer remains in the U.S. for Belmont Derby

NYRA Press Office
June 12, 2019 04:36pm
The creation of the Turf Trinity and Turf Tiara as part of the 2019 Turf Triple Series, offering $5.25 million in purse money for sophomores over three legs at Belmont Park and Saratoga Race Course, has captured international attention with familiar 3-year-old Master Fencer expected to contend.

The Turf Triple will showcase 3-year-old turf runners with the first legs, both Grade 1 events contested at 10 furlongs, slated for Saturday, July 6, as part of the Stars & Stripes Festival to be broadcast live nationwide on NBC.

The Turf Trinity kicks off with the Grade 1, $1 million Belmont Derby Invitational.

Katsumi Yoshizawa's homebred Master Fencer, trained by Koichi Tsunoda and piloted by Julien Leparoux, rallied for sixth in the Kentucky Derby and did one better in last Saturday's Belmont Stakes.

The son of Just a Way was slated to leave New York on Thursday and return to his native Japan to prepare for a fall campaign until Yoshizawa called an audible, deciding instead to meet the challenge of the Turf Trinity.

"We're excited for the challenge of the Belmont Derby," said Yoshizawa via translator Mitsuoki Numamoto. "Master Fencer has come out of the Belmont Stakes with good energy. He has raced twice on the turf in Japan and run well, even though he did not win. I'm confident he will give a positive showing in the Belmont Derby on grass."

The second jewel of the Turf Trinity, the inaugural $1 million Saratoga Derby, will be contested at 1 3/16-miles on the Saratoga green on Sunday, August 4, followed by the September 7 Jockey Club Derby.

Tadakazu Obama's Jodie, a daughter of Daiwa Major bred by the famous Northern Farm, is another Japan-bred trying her hand at the Turf Triple with the 
Grade 1, $750,000 Belmont Oaks Invitational on July 6 up first.

Jodie has contested all nine career starts on grass in her native Japan, graduating
 on debut last June in Tokyo. She followed up with a fourth in the Group 3 Niigata Nisai at Niigata at one mile on the turf. In November, Jodie then captured the Akamatsu Sho over one mile of firm turf at Tokyo in November, but failed to menace when off-the-board in the Group 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies to close out her juvenile campaign.

Trained by Hirofumi Toda, Jodie returned with a flourish in February, finishing third in the Group 3 Daily Hai Queen Cup at Tokyo when racing at one-mile for the sixth time. She stretched out to 1 1/4 miles in April finishing third in the Group 2 Sankei Sports Sho Flora Stakes at Tokyo. Last out, in the 1 1/2-mile Group 1 Japanese Oaks, Jodie set the early pace before fading to finish 14th.

The Turf Tiara continues Friday, August 2, with the 1 3/16-mile Saratoga Oaks and concludes with the September 7 Jockey Club Oaks back at Belmont Park.


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