Pavel traveling to Japan for next start in 'signature race'

November 14, 2018 12:58pm

Grade 1 winner Pavel, who last ran in the Breeders’ Cup Classic, will make his next start in the Dec. 2, Group 1 Champions Cup at Chukyo Racecourse in Japan, trainer Doug O’Neill said Wednesday. 

“He came out of the Breeders’ Cup in great shape and the timing was good, so we thought it was a great opportunity,” O’Neill said by phone. “We know he likes to travel.”

Owner Reddam Racing has not shied away from the big stages with Pavel. After a series of fourth-place runs, which included a trip to the Dubai World Cup, the 4-year-old Creative Cause colt won the Stephen Foster Handicap (G1) at Churchill Downs and was second to Accelerate in the Pacific Classic (G1). Pavel next ran 10th in the Breeders’ Cup Classic after jockey Mario Gutierrez had to check him nearing the quarter pole and never gained momentum back.

Pavel has earned $1.375 million from a 12: 3-1-1 record.

The Champions Cup is a 1 1/8-mile dirt race for 3-year-olds and up. The 2018 running will be the 19th installment and the fifth year held at Chukyo. Before settling at its current location the race was known as he Japan Dirt Cup.

“It’s a prestigious, kind of the signature race for the track over there and it was a real honor that they invited us,” O’Neill said. “We went over him real thoroughly to make sure he was in perfect condition, which he checked all the boxes, so thought it was a great opportunity to see how it goes.”

Pavel is currently at Keeneland and is expected have his first breeze since the Breeders’ Cup Saturday. If all goes well, he could be on a plane to Tokyo by Monday.


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