04/29/2006 11:00PM

Deep Impact cruises at 1-10

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Deep Impact did as the world expected in Kyoto on Sunday, cruising to a 1-10 victory in the $2.25 million Spring Tenno Sho, or Emperor's Cup.

The Yasuo Ikee-trained son of Sunday Silence has now won nine of his ten career starts, having tasted defeat only at the hands of Heart's Cry in the Arima Kinen last Christmas Day at Nakayama. His four-length rout of Lincoln, the 13-1 second choice in the Tenno Sho, now puts him on course for an intended European campaign expected to culminate in the Prix de l'Aec de Triomphe at Longchamp on Oct. 1.

Yutaka Take did not panic when Deep Impact missed the Tenno Sho break, knowing full well he was sitting on the best horse in the 18-runner fireld and that he would have plenty of time to recover during the 2-mile contest. Deep Impact circled the field to lead at the three-eighths pole before striding out emphatically, covering the final three furlongs in an astonishing 33.5 seconds. His final time of 3:13.40 broke the two-mile Kyoto course record by a full second.

In winning his fourth Grade 1 race in front of a jubilant crowd of 90,000, Deep Impact was adding to his other three victories at the highest level which had earned him last year's Japanese Triple Crown, the 1 1/4-mile Japanese 2000, the 1 1/2-mile Japanese Derby, and the 1 7/8-mile Japanese St. Leger. Trainer Ikee and owner Kaneko Makoto will now begin laying plans for their champion's European adventure.