01/30/2002 12:00AM

Japan Cup moved, shortened

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The Japan Cup, whose 2001 value of $3.9 million made it the world's third richest race, is moving from Tokyo to Nakayama for its 22nd running in 2002.

With Tokyo Racecourse scheduled for major building works, the change of venue is only one of three changes the Japan Cup will undergo. The distance of the race will be reduced from 1 1/2 miles to 1 3/8 miles to accommodate the configuration of Nakayama, a right-handed turf course with a stiff uphill run from the far turn until midway through the short 1 1/2-furlong stretch.

The $2 million Japan Cup Dirt, which will be run the day before the Japan Cup, on Nov. 23, will also be run at Nakayama this year and will be shortened from 1 5/16 miles to 1 1/8 miles. Both races will move back to left-handed Tokyo Racecourse and revert to their original distances in 2003.