03/07/2008 1:00AM

Japan Cup Dirt altered for festival

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The distance, location, and date of the Japan Cup Dirt will all be changed this year as part of the Japan Racing Association's introduction of the Japan Autumn International, a festival of four international Grade 1 races between Nov. 16 and Dec. 7.

The festival, designed to attract more foreign attention to big Japanese races, includes the $1.8 million, 1 3/8-mile Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup for fillies and mares at Kyoto on Nov. 16; the $2 million Mile Championship at Kyoto on Nov. 23; the $5.2 million, 1 1/2-mile Japan Cup at Tokyo on Nov. 30; and the $2.7 million Japan Cup Dirt, which has been moved from Tokyo to Hanshin near Osaka, had its distance reduced from 1 5/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles, and been rescheduled from the day before the Japan Cup to a week later,

Dec. 7.

The festival will also include the World Super Jockeys Series at Hanshin on Dec. 6 and 7.

The Japan Cup Dirt, which had its first running in 2000, was run at a distance of 1 1/8 miles once before at Nakayama in 2002 when Tokyo Racecourse was undergoing renovation. It has been won once by an American horse, that in 2003 at 1 5/16 miles at Tokyo by the Doug O'Neill-trained Fleetstreetdancer.