12/22/2013 11:57AM

Nakayama Racecourse: Orfevre wins Arima Kinen to cap career


Orfevre, the Japanese star who was second in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in each of the last two years, ended his racing career with an emphatic victory in Sunday’s $4 million Arima Kinen at Nakayama Racecourse.

Orfevre (3-5) won the Grade 1 Arima Kinen over 1 9/16 miles by eight lengths over Win Variation. Gold Ship, who won the 2012 Arima Kinen, finished third in the field of 16.

Ridden by Kenichi Ikezoe for trainer Yasutoshi Ikee, Orfevre was at the back of the field before making a wide move with three furlongs remaining. He took the lead with more than a furlong remaining.

The Arima Kinen, witnessed by an ontrack crowd of 124,000, was the first start for Orfevre since he was beaten five lengths by Treve in the Arc de Triomphe in early October. Orfevre won the Group 2 Prix Foy at Longchamp in September. A 5-year-old Japanese-bred by Stay Gold, Orfevre is owned by Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.

Orfevre was the top 3-year-old in Japan in 2011, the year he won the Japanese Triple Crown and the Arima Kinen. He ends his career with 12 wins in 21 starts and will stand at stud in Japan in 2014.

The Arima Kinen has a unique role in Japanese racing. Of the 16 runners, 10 are selected by fans through a ballot, making it sort of an all-star race for Thoroughbreds. The remaining runners are determined by earnings.