05/27/2010 11:00PM

Victoire Pisa eyes $3.7M Japanese Derby


Victoire Pisa goes after a second Japanese classic at Tokyo on Sunday when he tackles 17 rivals in the 1 1/2-mile, Grade 1 Tokyo Yushun, or Japanese Derby, which at $3.7 million rates as the richest derby in the world.

Trained by Katsuhiko Sumii, Victoire Pisa was a convincing 1 1/2-length winner of the 1 1/4-mile Japanese 2000 Guineas on April 18, when he won for the fifth time in six starts. Out of Whitewater Affair, the winner of Deauville's 1 1/16-mile, Group 2 Prix de Pomone, Victoire Pisa is a half brother to Asakusa Den'en, the winner of the one-mile, Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen, so there is class and stamina aplenty in his pedigree. Yasunari Iwata, who rode him in the Guineas, retains the ride as deputy for the still sidelined Yutaka Take.

The Guineas second and third, Hiruno d'Amour and Eishin Flash, will try Victoire Pisa again, but the biggest threat to the favorite's dual classic hopes is Danon Chantilly. The Kunihide Matsuda-trained Danon Chantill is coming off a sharp score in the Grade 1 NHK Mile Cup in which he set a Tokyo track record of 1:31.40, an effort that followed his victory in the 1 1/8-mile, Grade 3 Mainichi Hai. Katsumi Ando will break Danon Chantilly from the wide outside 18 post, but that shouldn't be a problem as Apapane and Saint Emilion dead-heated for first in last Sunday's Japanese Oaks over the Derby course and distance while breaking from posts 17 and 18.