03/20/2006 1:00AM

Deep Impact returns with a win


Deep Impact, the 2005 Japanese Horse of the Year, made a successful reappearance at Hanshin on Sunday with a handy score in the Grade 2 Hanshin Daishoten at 1 7/8 miles.

The winner of last year's Japanese Triple Crown, Deep Impact had suffered his only career loss last time out on Dec. 25 when beaten by Heart's Cry in the Arima Kinen. In Sunday's race, Deep Impact flew home from sixth place in the eight-runner field, showing the same brilliant acceleration that has now resulted in 8 victories in 9 lifetime starts. Sent off as the 1-10 choice under Yutaka Take, he had a winning margin of 3 1/2 lengths over runner-up Tokai Trick. The time for 15 furlongs was 3:08.80.

Deep Impact, a Sunday Silence 4-year-old trained by Yasuo Ikee for Kaneko Manoto Holdings Co. Ltd., will now be pointed to the two-mile Grade 1 Spring Tenno Sho at Kyoto on April 30. His ultimate goal this year will be a tilt at the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on Oct. 1.