05/27/2006 11:00PM

Meisho Samson wins Japanese Derby


Meisho Samson completed a classic double at Tokyo on Sunday as he reeled in the pacesetting Admire Main to win the $3 million Tokyo Yushun, or Japanese Derby. The Opera House colt has now won the first two legs of the Japanese Triple Crown as he had previously accounted for the 1 1/4-mile Japanese 2000 Guineas on April 16.

Admire Main employed his usual front running tactics to give himself a seeminly insurmountable lead in mid-stretch but Meisho Samson would not be denied. His rider Mamoru Ishibashi had him in front at the 16th pole and was actually easing him down at the wire despite the narrow winning margin of a neck. Dream Passport was 2 lengths further behind in third as the victorious 2.80-1 favorite was clocked in 2:27.90 for the 1 1/2 miles.

Trained by Tsutomu Setoguchi for owner Yoshio Matsumoto, Meisho Samson is ultimately expected to attempt to complete the Triple Crown in the 1 7/8-mile Kikuka Sho, or Japanese St. Leger, at Kyoto on Oct. 22. If he does so, he will have matched the feat of last year's Triple Crown winner Deep Impact who, along with Dubai Sheema Classic winner Heart's Cry, is being aimed at this year's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.