Takarazuka Kinen (A Breeders' Cup Challenge Race) Preview

The Takarazuka Kinen (G1, 2200m) is quickly becoming one of my favorite Japanese G1 races. Just like it’s sister race, the Arima Kinen (G1, 2500m), 10 of the entries are determined by popular vote. The 10 most popular horses are determined with a fan vote. Those horses get a free spot in the gate if they want to/can run in the race. So the field is almost always chock full of the best horses Japan has to offer. Just like last year, the #1 most popular horse in Japan is Buena Vista.

The past two winners have turned out to be some very good horses. The 2009 winner was Dream Journey. He went on to win the Arima Kinen later that year over Buena Vista. He is also the full brother to current triple crown hopeful, Orfevre.

In 2010 the winner was Nakayama Festa, who went on to finish a thrilling second to Workforce in the Arc de Triomphe (G1, 2400m). He won the Takarazuka Kinen last year over four time G1 winner Buena Vista, 2008 two year old champion Seiun Wonder, 2008 Derby winner Logi Universe, 2009 Emperors Cup Spring winner Jaguar Mail, and three time G1 winner Dream Journey.

This year’s renewal is just as exciting. We have the current Horse Of The Year, five time G1 winning mare, three time G1 winning horse, 2008’s champion 2 year old who also won the 2009 Japan Cup, the 2010 Derby winner, the 2007 Kikuka Sho winner, and a slew of other G2 & 3 winners and graded stakes placed horses.

Another reason I am so excited about the Takarazuka Kinen is that for the first time it is being run as a Breeders Cup Challenge race for the Breeders Cup Turf (G1, 2400m). So as an American and as an racing fan, I am very excited!

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Older Comments about Takarazuka Kinen (A Breeders' Cup Challenge Race) Preview...

Great info, thanks Kate ... and don't get me started on the DQ in last year's Japan Cup. Oy Vey!
Also, more than likely if Eishin Flash, Dream Journey or Rose Kingdom win they too will probably all say no... wanting to try for the fall series as well. Those races are stallion makers in Japan, even if you just win one or two of them. Rose Kingdom (who was moved to 1st when Buena was disqualified in the Japan Cup) has to prove he can actually WIN the Japan Cup! grr. Out of the three though, Eishin Flash might be the only one who would consider it. His owner Toyomitsu Hirai loves going to Keeneland to buy racehorses. He might be in a more international spirit than say Rose Kingdom would. Dream Journey is at the end of his career. They don't know when they will retire him but this COULD be his last race. If he wins, they might try for a fall G1 but he will definitely retire at the end of the year, so international travel for him is probably unlikely.
As awesome as that would be, the answer is probably 100% no. They want to win the "Fall Triple Crown" with her. It is a 3 race series in the fall, the Emperor's Cup Fall (10/30, G1, 2000m), Japan Cup (11/27, G1, 2400m), and the Arima Kinen (12/25, G1, 2500m). It is a rare thing for older horses to do. She ALMOST did it last year. She won the Emperor's Cup, was disqualified from 1st to 2nd in the Japan Cup (I am still angry about THAT), and she was 2nd by a NOSE to Victoire Pisa (2011's Dubai WC winner) in the Arima Kinen. Her connections want another shot at it. A mare has never won it before and only like two males have ever been able to pull off the 3 race win. The world's richest horse, TM Opera O in 2000 and Zenno Rob Roy in 2004.
Love getting the information from Japan, thanks Kate. Any chance of Buena Vista ending up in the BC this year?

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