04/30/2017 1:30PM

Kitasan Black sets record in winning Japan's Tenno Sho


Kitasan Black, Japan’s Horse of the Year in 2016, won his second consecutive Grade 1 race with a record-breaking performance in Sunday’s spring running of the $2.61 million Tenno Sho at two miles on turf at Kyoto Racecourse in Japan.

Kitasan Black was timed in 3:12.5, taking 9-10ths of a second off of Deep Impact’s record set in 2006.

Sent off favored at 6-5, Kitasan Black stalked pacesetter Yamakatsu Raiden before taking the lead three furlongs from the finish. Ridden by Yutaka Take, Kitasan Black won by 1 1/4 lengths over 11-1 Cheval Grand.

“It was a really tough race,” Take told Japan Racing Association publicity. “The pace never slowed down.

“Although the horse had little left, he showed amazing stamina and tenacity up to the end, which only he can do. I never thought Deep Impact’s record would ever be broken. This horse is just so much stronger than he was a year ago.”

Satono Diamond, the 3-2 second choice, finished third in the field of 17, ending a four-race winning streak. Last December, Satono Diamond and Kitasan Black were first and second in the Grade 1 Arima Kinen. Kitasan Black won the Japan Cup last November.

Kitasan Black is a 5-year-old horse by Black Tide who races for singer Saburo Kitajima’s Ono Shoji stable and trainer Hisashi Shimizu.

Kitasan Black has won 10 of 16 starts, and has won five Grade 1 races in Japan.

Kitasan Black won his first start of 2017 in the Grade 1 Osaka Hai at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Hanshin Racecourse on April 2.

The race drew 77,786 and handled approximately $199.1 million, according to a Japan Racing Association statement.