11/10/2009 12:00AM

Five set for Japan trip


The United States will be represented by no fewer than five horses in Japan's two big international races this autumn. Connections of Interpatation, Just as Well, and Marsh Side have accepted invitations to the $5.9 million Japan Cup at Tokyo on Nov. 29, while Tizway will join the already-announced Summer Bird in the $2.9 million Japan Cup Dirt at Hanshin on Dec. 6.

Interpatation, trained by Robert Barbara, is coming off a big score in Belmont's Turf Classic Invitational at the Japan Cup distance of 1 1 /2 miles. In that race he beat Gio Ponti, who was second in the Breeders' Cup Classic on Saturday. Trained by Jonathan Sheppard, Just as Well was awarded the Northern Dancer Stakes at Woodbine upon the disqualification of Marsh Side. Just as Well was also second to Gio Ponti in the Arlington Million. The Neil Drysdale-trained Marsh Side is winless since having won the 2008 Canadian International. He was most recently fourth to Champs Elysees in the 2009 renewal of that 1 1/2-mile Woodbine race.

A three-time Grade 1 winner on dirt this year, Summer Bird, trained by Tim Ice, was fourth on Saturday in the Breeders' Cup Classic, his first try on a synthetic surface. The best effort of the lightly raced, Jim Bond-trained Tizway came in his last start when he was third behind Summer Bird in the Jockey Club Gold Cup. Run through 2007 at Tokyo at a distance of 1 5/16 miles, the Japan Cup Dirt was shortened to 1 1/8 miles last year and switched to right-handed Hanshin Racecourse in Osaka.

Under a complicated Japan Racing Association bonus system, Summer Bird is in line to receive a $1.1 million bonus should he win the Japan Cup Dirt. If he finishes second, he would earn a $444,000 bonus. If he is third, his bonus would be $277,000. Summer Bird is triply qualified as he won the Belmont Stakes, the Travers and the Jockey Club Gold Cup, the winners of which all qualify under the system.

As the winner of the 2008 Canadian International, Marsh Side would receive the same bonuses for finishing first, second, or third in the Japan Cup.