11/24/2013 3:36PM

Japan Cup: Gentildonna becomes first repeat winner


Gentildonna held off a late threat from Denim and Ruby to become the first repeat winner of the $4,713,337 Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday.

Ridden by British jockey Ryan Moore, Gentildonna closed from fourth in a field of 17 to lead by a length in the stretch. The advantage was reduced by Denim and Ruby in the final strides, but Gentildonna held on to win the 33rd running of Japan’s richest race.

“She did it the hard way because I was in front a little bit earlier than what I’d wanted it to be,” Moore said. “She’s very tough and fought very well at the end.”

Gentildonna, the 11-10 favorite, ran 1 1/2 miles on turf in 2:26.10. The Japan Cup was the 4-year-old filly’s first win since the 2012 Japan Cup and her fourth start this year.

Denim and Ruby’s second-place finish gave fillies the first two positions in the Japan Cup. A 29-1 shot, the 3-year-old Denim and Ruby finished a neck in front of 99-1 Tosen Jordan. Gold Ship, a Group 1 winner in Japan this year, finished 15th as the 2-1 second choice. He never posed a threat to Gentildonna.

There were three foreign runners in the Japan Cup. Dunaden, the 2011 Melbourne Cup winner, finished fifth, while the Irish invader Simenon was 13th at 163-1. Joshua Tree, the winner of the Canadian International at Woodbine in October, finished last.

Gentildonna, the 2012 Japanese Horse of the Year, has won 8 of 13 starts. The Japan Cup win was worth $2,917,010. By Deep Impact, Gentildonna is trained by Sei Ishizaka for the Sunday Racing Co. She was second in the $5 million Dubai Sheema Classic in the United Arab Emirates in March, third in the Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin Racecourse in June, and second in the Tenno Sho Stakes in Tokyo on Oct. 27.