06/02/2017 1:06PM

Japan: Breeders' Cup Mile berth at stake in Yasuda Kinen


More than three years have gone by since Isla Bonita won the Grade 1 Japanese 2000 Guineas.

The now-6-year-old horse has lost seven subsequent starts in Grade 1 races, a streak that could end in Sunday’s Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen at a mile on turf at Tokyo Racecourse. Isla Bonita is expected to be favored in the $1,817,540 Yasuda Kinen, which drew a field of 18.

The race could have Breeders’ Cup implications. The winner will receive a fees-paid berth in the BC Mile at Del Mar on Nov. 4 if nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program.

Isla Bonita was second in the 2014 Japanese Derby and fifth in the 2016 Yasuda Kinen. In the last six months, Isla Bonita has been first or second in four graded stakes, including a win in the Grade 2 Yomiuri Milers Cup at Kyoto on April 23. Air Spinal and Young Man Power, second and third in the Milers Cup, are part of the Yasuda Kinen field.

The race has two imports from Hong Kong – Contentment and Beauty Only, who were first and second in the Group 1 Champions Mile at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on May 7. Contentment was 12th in the 2016 Yasuda Kinen. Beauty Only won the Group 1 Hong Kong Mile last December.

Greater London, Logotype, Red Falx, and Staphanos have strong credentials for Sunday’s race.

Greater London has won six of seven starts and will make his graded-stakes debut in the Yasuda Kinen. He is unbeaten in two starts this year, both at a mile.

Logotype won the 2016 Yasuda Kinen but is winless in four subsequent starts, including a third in the Nakayama Kinen at 1 1/8 miles on turf in February.

Red Falx won the Grade 1 Sprinters Stakes last October and the Grade 2 Keio Hai Spring Cup at seven furlongs at Tokyo on May 13.

Staphanos was second in the Group 1 Osaka Hai at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Hanshin on April 2. He was a Grade 3 winner at a mile in Japan in 2014.