Updated on 12/31/2014 11:10AM

Gentildonna closes career by winning Arima Kinen


Gentildonna, the winner of consecutive runnings of the Japan Cup in 2012 and 2013, ended her career with a victory in Sunday’s $3,456,584 Arima Kinen Stakes at Nakayama Racecourse, the last major race of the year in the Far East.

Gentildonna, a 5-year-old Japanese-bred mare by Deep Impact, closed from third in a field of 16 to win the race over 1 9/16  miles on turf by three-quarters of a length over the 3-year-old colt To the World, a 30-1 shot. Gentildonna was the 7-1 fourth choice in the field and was ridden by Keita Tosaki for trainer Sei Ishizaka.

“I’m really glad she was able to show her best performance in the last race of her career,” Tosaki said. “I was able to race her just as I imagined, settling her toward the front and making use of her persistent late charge.”

Gold Ship, the 5-2 favorite, finished third, a nose behind To the World. Gold Ship was 10th in the Prix de l’ Arc de Triomphe in Paris in early October.

Gentildonna, owned by Sunday Racing Company, won 10 of 19 starts and approximately $18.4 million in an international career. In native currency, Gentildonna earned 1.73 billion yen, second behind T M Opera O's record 1.84 billion yen. She is the leading female money winner of all time. She was Japan’s Horse of the Year in 2012.

Aside from her wins in the Japan Cup, she won the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic in the United Arab Emirates last March, as well as the Japanese Oaks and Japanese 1000 Guineas in 2012.

The field for the Arima Kinen is partially determined by a vote of racing fans who select 10 runners for the race. The remainder of the field is determined by earnings.

Sunday’s program drew an on-track crowd of 115,878. Approximately 40,000 fans stayed after the races for a retirement ceremony for Gentildonna, according to the Japan Racing Association.