11/23/2017 2:30PM

Kitasan Black attempts Japan Cup repeat


Kitasan Black gave legendary Japanese jockey Yutaka Take a record fourth win in the Grade 1 Japan Cup in 2016. The same partnership will be favored to win Sunday’s $5.8 million Japan Cup at Tokyo Racecourse in an international field with runners from Australia, Germany, and Ireland.

Kitasan Black, the 2016 Japanese Horse of the Year, leads a home team that includes key contenders in Rey de Oro, the winner of the Japanese Derby in May, and Satono Crown, the winner of Group 1 races in Hong Kong and Japan in the last year.

The lone filly in the field of 17 is the 3-year-old Soul Stirring, who won the Japanese Oaks earlier this year. The race is run at 1 1/2 miles on turf. Post time is 1:40 a.m. Eastern on Sunday, or 10:40 p.m. Pacific on Saturday. Wagering is available on DRFBets.com.

Kitasan Black, who can become the first repeat winner of the Japan Cup since Gentildonna in 2012-13, enters the race on the strength of a win in the Grade 1 autumn running of the Grade 1 Tenno Sho by a neck over Satono Crown at 1 1/4 miles at Tokyo on Oct. 29.

Trained by Hishasi Shimizu for Ono Shoji, Kitasan Black overcame trouble at the start to take the lead in the stretch in the $2.56 million race under Take.

“In the Tenno Sho, he rammed into the front of the gate and missed the break,” Take told Japan Racing Association publicists earlier this week.

“He reached the front earlier than I thought he would and really held out well over the last 400 meters. Even so, he still was reaching down for his very last at the end and I was getting nervous.”

The four foreign runners are led by Boom Time, who won the Group 1 Caulfield Cup in Australia on Oct. 21 and was 15th in the Melbourne Cup at Flemington Racecourse on Nov. 7.

Idaho, trained by Aidan O’Brien in Ireland, was fourth in the Canadian International at Woodbine on Oct. 15, two weeks after finishing eighth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Chantilly, France.

Guignol and Iquitos, who were first and second in the Group 1 Grosser Preis Von Bayern in Munich on Nov. 11, are attempting to give Germany its first success in the Japan Cup since Lando in 1995.