The Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby begins with Saturday’s Cattleya Stakes at Tokyo. Fifteen juveniles are slated to compete in the metric mile affair, worth points on the 10-4-2-1 scale to the top four finishers.
The foal, from the first crop of the Kentucky stallion Drefong , became a favorite after an easy win on his first outing. He was sent home by late long shots Café Karma and Geraldo Barows, selected by Henny Hughes and The sinister minister, corresponding. Consigliere, among spanish dance mare Tasha’s Star , the race in the colors of Kazumi Yoshida and bred by his Northern Farm. Japan’s top racer, Christophe Lemaire, has added extra traction at the betting windows.
Never far from the 1,600-meter (about a mile) Cattleya controversy, Lemaire produced the Consigliere outside of the original leaders just inside the 400-meter marker. He led the day and although top rivals were dominating, Consigliere still had enough of a chance to go home first.
Consigliere earned 10 points on the “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby” leaderboard. Café Karma and Geraldo Barows received four and two points, respectively. Connect the world, One Link pony, rode by Ryan Moore, finished fourth and got one point
Consiglieri’s son, Drefong, is a successful sprinter. Trained by Bob Baffert for Baoma Group, Drefong has had nine starts, posting six wins including Ketel One King (G1) Bishop Shares at Racecourse Saratoga and TwinSpires Breeders ‘Cup Sprint (G1) at Santa Anita Park in 2016. He won the Forego Stakes (G1) in Saratoga the following year.
The four-race streak moved to Kawasaki Racecourse on December 14 for Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun, where the score was doubled. Hyacinth bets on February 7 at Tokyo Racecourse offer 30, 12, six and three points. The final was the Fukuryu Stakes at Nakayama, where the stakes increased again to 40, 16, eight and four points.
Three horses based in Japan have run in the Kentucky Derby: Ski Captain (14th, 1995), Lani (9th, 2016), and Master Fencer (JPN) (6th, 2019).
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