10/25/2009 11:00PM

Three Rolls wins final Japanese classic of year


Three Rolls jumped up from the allowance ranks to score a classic victory at Kyoto on Sunday as he outgamed Forgettable to win the $3.1 million Kikuka Sho, or Japansese St. Leger, by a nose. The biggest winner of all, however, was the sire of the first two across the line, Dance in the Dark, the Sunday Silence stallion who won the Kikuka Sho in 1996.

With Japanese Derby winner Logi Universe sitting out the final Japanese classic of the year in favor of the Nov. 29 Japan Cup, derby runner-up Reach the Crown was sent off as the 2.80-1 favorite. But the Special Week colt could not withstand the hot finish of the winner and faded to finish fifth, beaten 2 1/2 lengths. Seiun Wonder and I Ko Piko, third and first last time in the St. Leger prep, the Kobe Shimbun Hai in which Reach the Crown had been second, were third and fourth this time. Ridden by Suguru Hamanaka for trainer Kohei Take, the 18-1 Three Rolls covered the 1 7/8 miles on firm ground in 3:03.50.

Three Rolls had won two of his last three starts but both were allowance races at 1 1/8 miles. Forgettable's best previous effort had also been an allowance score going 1 1/2 miles. The Kentucky-bred Break Run Out, the lone non-Japanese-bred horse in the 18-runner field, showed nothing in finishing sixteenth, 17 3/4 lengths behind Three Rolls.

The 16-year-old Dance in the Dark is one of the leading stamina influences in Japan, where he stands at the Shadai Stallion Station. He is also the sire of 2004 Kikuka Sho winner Delta Blues, also the winner of the 2006 Melbourne Cup. Among his other progeny is Tsurumaru Boy, winner of the one-mile, Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen.