02/21/2014 9:27AM

Japan: Belshazzar prepping for Dubai in February Stakes


Belshazzar, the winner of the Japan Cup Dirt in December, makes his 2014 debut in Sunday’s $1.91 million February Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan, a prep for an expected start in the $10 million Dubai World Cup on March 29.

The February Stakes, run over a mile, is the first Grade 1 race of the year in Japan.

Belshazzar, a 6-year-old horse by the Sunday Silence stallion King Kamehameha, is part of a field of 16 in the February Stakes and will be ridden by Cristian Demuro. Trained by Kunihide Matsuda, Belshazzar has won his last three starts and 6 of 16 races in his career. At 3, Belshazzar was third to Orfevre in the 2011 Japanese Derby.

In the February Stakes, Belshazzar’s competition includes Wonder Acute and Hokko Tarumae, who were second and third in the Japan Cup Dirt, and Nihonpiro Ours, the winner of the Grade 2 Tokai Stakes over 1 1/8 miles at Chukyo Racecourse on Jan. 26.

The field has two Kentucky-breds in A Shin Top, a Tale of the Cat colt who has won three graded stakes in Japan in the last two years, and Best Warrior, a colt by Majestic Warrior who won the Grade 3 Unicorn Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse last June.