06/20/2013 1:41PM

Gentildonna seeks Breeders' Cup Turf berth in Takarazuka Kinen

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Gentildonna, the 2012 Japanese Horse of the Year, makes her first start of the year in that country in Sunday’s $2,834,639 Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin Racecourse, a turf marathon with a strong field of older horses.

Gentildonna won the 2012 Japanese Triple Crown for 3-year-old fillies and then beat males in the Japan Cup last November. In her only start this year, Gentildonna was second in the Sheema Classic in Dubai in March.

The Grade 1 Takarazuka Kinen is run over about 1 3/8 miles on turf and is part of the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In program, offering a fees-paid berth for the winner to the BC Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 2.

Gentildonna is part of a field of 11 in the Takarazuka Kinen, challenged by Fenomeno and Gold Ship. Orfevre, second in the 2012 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Japan Cup, is a notable absence, having been withdrawn after bleeding in a workout earlier this month.

Fenomeno, a 4-year-old colt, was fifth in the Japan Cup last fall and won the Grade 1 Tenno Sho at Kyoto Racecourse on April 28. Gold Ship was fifth in the Tenno Sho, a loss that ended a four-race winning streak in Grade 1 and Grade 2 races in Japan since last September.