02/18/2011 1:26PM

Transcend auditions for Dubai World Cup in Japan's February Stakes


Transcend will prepare for his March 26 date in the Godolphin Mile at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday when he takes on Furioso in the $2.2 million February Stakes, a Grade 1 one-mile dirt race that his been won in recent years by Japanese dirt champions Espoir City and Kane Hekili.

Owner Yoshinori and trainer Hideyuki Mori have already accepted an invitation for Transcend to the Godolphin Mile, but they are bucking for an invite to the Dubai World Cup. They admit that their 5-year-old son Transcend would have to win the February for that to happen. Transcend, who has not run since Dec. 5 when he won the 1 1/8-mile Japan Cup Dirt at Hanshin, will be ridden by Shinji Fujita and break from post 12 in the 16-runner field.

Bred and owned by Darley, Furioso is Sheikh Mohammed’s first outstanding horse in Japan. Trained by Masayuki Kawashima on the National Association of Racing (NAR) circuit, the 7-year-old Furioso has been the NAR horse of the year three times, including last year. Coming off a five-length victory in the 1 5/16-mile Kawasaki Kinen on Jan. 26, he may want longer than this mile. He will break just outside of Transcend in post 13 with Mirco Demuro aboard.

Casino Drive, winner of the 2008 Peter Pan Stakes and one of the favorites for that year’s Belmont Stakes before a stone bruise forced him out of that race, was nominated to the February but trainer Kazuo Fujisawa has decided to wait for the ungraded Nigawa Stakes at Hanshin on March 6. A three-quarters brother to Belmont winner Rags to Riches and a half to Belmont winner Jazil as well as to Breeders’ Cup Marathon winner Man of Iron, Casino Drive has been out of action since finishing eighth in the 2009 Dubai World Cup.