05/30/2013 2:21PM

Tokyo Racecourse: Lord Kanaloa tries to stretch speed to mile in Yasuda Kinen


Lord Kanaloa, the top sprinter in Japan and Hong Kong in the last year, will attempt to carry his speed to a mile in Sunday’s $2.06 million Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo Racecourse.

The Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen is the top turf mile in the first half of the year in Japan and has drawn a strong field.

Lord Kanaloa, a 5-year-old horse by King Kamehameha, has won his last four starts, all graded or group races. He won the Group 1 Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin last December and has won two starts in Japan this year – a Group 3 at Hanshin on Feb. 24 and the Group 1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chukyo Racecourse on March 24.

Lord Kanaloa is part of a field of 18 in the Yasuda Kinen that includes two shippers from Hong Kong. Helene Spirit and Glorious Days were second and fourth in the Group 1 Champions Mile at Sha Tin on May 5. Glorious Days was second in the Hong Kong Mile last December.

Two other leading contenders from Japan are Grand Prix Boss and Verxina.

Grand Prix Boss, 5, was a Grade 1 winner as a 2- and 3-year-old in 2010 and 2011 and won his last start, the Grade 2 Yomiuri Milers Cup at Kyoto on April 21.

Verxina, a 4-year-old filly, won the Group 1 Victoria Mile for fillies and mares at Tokyo Racecourse on May 12.