11/29/2012 4:38PM

Japan Cup Dirt draws familiar cast to Hanshin


The field for Sunday’s $3.3 million Japan Cup Dirt at Hanshin Racecourse has a familiar look.

The 16 runners include Transcend and Wonder Acute, who were first and second in the 2011 running, and Espoir City, the winner of the 2009 Japan Cup Dirt and third last year.

The Japan Cup Dirt is run over about 1 1/8 miles on a right-handed track.

Transcend, a 6-year-old horse by Wild Rush, is winless in three starts this year, including a third in the JBC Classic at Kawasaki Racecourse on Nov. 5. Wonder Acute won the JBC Classic in his first start since May.

Espoir City, 10th behind Blame in the 2010 Breeders’ Cup Classic at Churchill Downs, won his last start, in the Mile Championship at Morioka Racecourse on Oct. 8.

To the Glory, 11th in the 2011 Japan Cup, makes his dirt debut on Sunday. He was third in the prestigious Arima Kinen in 2010 and 2011, but was 12th and 18th in Grade 1 races earlier this year.

The field also includes the 5-year-old mare Miracle Legend, who won the JBC Ladies’ Classic at Kawasaki on Nov. 5, and was sixth in the 2011 Japan Cup Dirt; Roman Legend, a 4-year-old colt who won Grade 3 stakes at Kyoto and Sapporo racecourses in his last two starts; and the promising 3-year-old Hatano Vainqueuer, who won the Japan Dirt Derby in July.