03/07/2008 12:00AM

Japan Cup Dirt altered for festival


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.