10/23/2009 11:00PM

Break Run Out heads Kyoto cast


Break Run Out will be looking for a breakout performance in the $3.1 Million Kikuka Sho, or Japanese St. Leger, a Grade 1 classic to be run at 1 7/8 miles at Kyoto on Sunday.

A Kentucky-bred son of the stamina-inducing Smart Strike, Break Run Out returned from a 15-week layoff on Sept. 12 to finish second in Hanshin's 1 1/4-mile, Grade 3 Asahi Challenge Cup in his first try against older horses. Only 15th in the Japanese Derby in his previous outing, Break Run Out is out of Queue, winner of the 1 1/2-mile Long Island Handicap, so the Kikuka Sho distance should not pose a problem for this improving Hirofumi Toda trainee, who is the only non-Japanese-bred in the 18-runner field.

Standing in his way are the first four finishers from the 1 1/2-mile Kobe Shimbun Hai, the traditional Kikuka Sho prep in which I Ko Piko scored a 2-length victory over Japanese Derby runner-up Reach the Crown. Third was Seiun Wonder, who was 13th in the Japanese Derby, while the enigmatic Unrivaled, the winner of the 1 1/4-mile Japanese 2000 Guineas but only 12th as the 11-10 favorite in the Derby, was fourth.

With Yutaka Take aboard, Reach the Crown is likely to go off as the favorite. He will break ideally from post 9, while Break Run Out faces a daunting task in departing widest of all from post 18.