05/29/2011 11:22AM

Japanese Derby: Orfevre solidifies credentials as Japan's top 3-year-old

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Orfevre rallied wide in the final three furlongs to win Sunday’s Group 1 Japanese Derby at Tokyo Racecourse, confirming his status as that nation’s leading 3-year-old a month after winning the Japanese 2000 Guineas.

Ridden by Kerichi Ikezoe, Orfevre, who paid $5.80 as the favorite in American betting pools, won the Japanese Derby by 1 3/4 lengths over Wind Variation. Belshazzar finished third, seven lengths behind Wind Variation in the field of 18. The race was run over about 1 1/2 miles on soft turf in a driving rainstorm. Debonair, ridden by Frankie Dettori for Sheikh Mohammed, could only finish 12th.

Orfevre, a Japanese-bred by Stay Gold, is the first horse since Meisho Samson in 2006 to win the Japanese 2000 Guineas and Japanese Derby. Orfevre, owned by Sunday Racing Co., and trained by Yasutoshi Ikee, has won 4 of 8 starts and three consecutive stakes, a streak that began with the Spring Stakes over about 1 1/8 miles at Hanshin in March.