05/26/2017 4:03PM

Unbeaten Admirable stands out in Japanese Derby field

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Admirable is unbeaten in three starts since early May, rising through the ranks in Japan from a maiden race winner to a graded stakes winner.

The rapid success leaves Admirable as the expected favorite in a field of 18 colts in Sunday’s Grade 1 Japanese Derby at Tokyo Racecourse. Admirable drew the outside post for his first start since a win in the Grade 2 Hai Aoba Sho at 1 1/2 miles on turf at Tokyo on April 29.

“He’s had three races in fairly quick succession,” trainer Hidetaka Otonashi told Japan Racing Association publicity earlier this week.

“While it could be said that that’s asking too much of him, he’s made the adjustment each time and won his races.”

The $3,377,291 Japanese Derby is restricted to colts and fillies and is run at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Admirable, by top Japanese stallion Deep Impact, has won 3 of 4 starts for owner and breeder Hideko Kondo. Admirable will be ridden by Mirco Demuro, who is seeking a third career win in the Japanese Derby. He won the race Neo Universe in 2003 and Duramente in 2015.

Admirable’s main rivals are the top finishers of the Grade 1 Japanese 2000 Guineas at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Nakayama on April 16 – Al Ain, Persian Knight, and Danburite.

Al Ain, also by Deep Impact, has won 4 of 5 starts for Sunday Racing Co. Al Ain was unbeaten in two minor races at 2 in 2016, but was sixth in his 2017 debut in a Grade 3 race at Kyoto on Jan. 8. In the 2000 Guineas, Al Ain finished a neck in front of Persian Knight as a 22-1 outsider.

Earlier this year, Al Ain won the Grade 2 Mainchi Hai at 1 1/8 miles on turf March 25, beating Satona Arthur, who is part of the Japanese Derby field.

Daiwa Cagney is a late-developing colt who will merit attention following a win in the minor Principal Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Tokyo on May 6.