Efforia not only remained undefeated in his fourth start; he also dominated a field that included many of his rivals for the Japanese Triple Crown. Efforia second choice in the wagering cleared up the Japanese 3-year-old picture with a three-length victory in the Satsuki Sho (Japanese Two Thousand Guineas, G1) at Nakayama Racecourse.
With Takeshi Yokoyama up; got a clean start and saved ground just behind the leaders passing the grandstand the first time. The Nakayama course features a climb down the stretch and Efforia used that to launch an attack and gained the lead and quickly opened up a clear advantage. Titleholder, was three lengths back at the finish with six others in blanket finish. Efforia completed the 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) on good turf in 2:00.6.
The favorite, 2020 Hopeful Stakes (G1) winner Danon the Kid, faded late to finish second-last, suffered his second defeat in as many starts this year after going unbeaten in 2020. Titleholder started 2021 with promise, winning the Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho Deep Impact Kinen (G2) in his first start of the campaign. Stella Veloce finished third a heah behind Titleholder.
Efforia Made Two Starts As a Juvenile
Winning his debut at Sapporo Aug. 23 and then at Tokyo Racecourse Nov. 8. He kept his record intact with a victory in his 3-year-old debut in the Kyodo News Hai Tokinominoru Kinen (G3) Feb. 14, also at Tokyo, one of the major preps for the Satsuki Sho. That was enough to make him second-favorite behind Danon the Kid.
Shikato said Efforia has progressed nicely.
“He’s coped well with his workload in training,” Shikato said before the Satsuki Sho. “As a 2-year-old, physically and mentally he was a little weak, and his hindquarters weren’t so strong, so it took him a bit of time to recover from races. Over time, though, he’s developed well and has become a lot stronger.”
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