12/22/2006 1:00AM

Deep Impact ready for finale


Deep Impact should conclude his brilliant career on a high note at Nakayama on Sunday when he attempts to win the one Japanese race that eluded him last year, the $2.9 million Arima Kinen, or Japanese Grand Prix.

The traditional year-end 1 9/16-mile Grade 1 event has greater cachet in many Japanese racing circles than the Japan Cup, a race Deep Impact won on Nov. 26 after having been disqualified from third place in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe for a banned-drug positive.

The Arc and last year's Arima Kinen are the only times in 13 career outings when Deep Impact, a Yasuo Ikee-trained 4-year-old son of Sunday Silence, failed to cross the line in front. Nearly 100,000 people are expected at Nakayama to say good-bye to their hero, who is likely to go off at 1-10 with Yutaka Take on board.

The biggest spoiler at the farewell party could be Daiwa Major. A late-blossoming 5-year-old son of Sunday Silence, he has won at the Grade 1 level in his last two starts, the 1 1/4-mile Autumn Tenno Sho and the Mile Championship.

The 3-year-old Dream Passport is a threat off his fine two-length second behind Deep Impact in the Japan Cup, in which Ouija Board was third.