04/17/2009 12:00AM

Unrivaled heads Japanese 2000


The $2.3 million Satsuki Sho, or Japanese 2000 Guineas, at Nakayama on Sunday should be a contentious affair, with two sons of Neo Universe, the 2003 winner of this 1 1/4-mile classic, laying claim to the best chances of victory.

One, Unrivaled, prepped for this, as did Neo Universe in 2003, with a victory in Nakayama's 1 1/8-mile Spring Stakes. Unrivaled won going 1 1/4 miles in his previous start and is a son of the Sadler's Wells mare Ballet Queen, herself a daughter of English Oaks and St. Leger winner Sun Princess. With that kind of pedigree coupled with his record, he is taken to emulate his sire despite breaking from

post 16 in the 18-strong field.

The other son of Neo Universe, Logi Universe, will be breaking from post 1. Undefeated in four starts, he last won the Yayoi Sho over the Satsuki Sho course and distance.

Reach the Crown, a son of 1998 Japanese Derby winner Special Week, will have to reach down deeply to win from his wide draw in 18. Last out he won the 1 1/8-mile Kisaragi Sho at Kyoto, a race also won by Special Week.

Japanese juvenile champion Seiun Wonder was only eighth behind Logi Universe in the Yayoi Sho and may find 1 1/4 miles too long, but Best Member, another course-and-distance winner, is eligible to improve off his win in Hanshin's 1 1/4-mile Wakaba Stakes.