Kitasan Black Public Pick For 2017 Arima Kinen
The countdown to one of the biggest days on the Japanese racing calendar is almost done with the 61st Arima Kinen to be run on Christmas Day at Nakayama racecourse near Tokyo.
The “dream race” looks sure to live up to its name again this year, with a number of factors combining to draw huge numbers of fans to the track. Even Santa Claus could be forgiven for taking the day off.
The G1 race is run over 2500m for 3-year-olds and above with a maximum field of 16 runners.
It’s a race where fans vote for who they want to see run, and this time it’s the big striding Kitasan Black who tops the fan list, garnering over 130,000 votes.
The race has been kind to market leaders in the past 10 years, with five first favorites and two second favorites winning.
The age of the winners during the same period is led by four 4-year-olds just beating out the three and 5-year-olds with three wins apiece.
Lead up races to the Arima Kinen include the Japan Cup, Queen Elizabeth II Cup and Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger).
Prize money for this year’s Arima Kinen is 648 million yen in total with 300 million yen going to the winner.
There have been six horses win the race twice, the latest being Orfevre in 2011 and 2013. This year Gold Actor has the chance to join this elite group.
The race record time is held by Zenno Rob Roy, who won in 2004 in 2.29.5 seconds.
Some of the entries include:
KITASAN BLACK : This 4YO colt by Black Tide is fast approaching legendary status, along with his owner and jockey.
Who can forget the way he won this year’s Japan Cup, when just finding more and more down the straight under rider Yutaka Take.
Trained by Hisashi Shimizu, Kitasan Black has eight wins from a 13-race career and two wins have come at Nakayama. The track would seem perfect for him in his recent catch-me-if-you-can running style.
SATONO DIAMOND : The only 3YO in the lineup, this Deep Impact colt was an impressive winner of this year’s Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) and is trained by Yasutoshi Ikee, a master of getting horses just right for a big race.
Satono Diamond was given a rest at the farm after his exertions in the Kikuka Sho, but is now back refreshed and raring to go. He recently trained with stablemates, Air Camuzet and Satono Rasen, to the satisfaction of his trainer.
He has never been unplaced in his seven career starts and they include five wins. Christophe Lemaire has ridden the colt in all his races, and he’ll be aboard again, gunning for his 10th G1 win in Japan.
CHAVEL GRAND: This 4YO is a half brother to two-time G1 winner Verxina and this year’s Shuka Sho winner Vivlos, and is rising to the top fast.
“He does his work well with good responses,” trainer Yasuo Tomomichi said. “It’s his first time at Nakayama, but the jockey Yuichi Fukunaga is confident.”
Cheval Grand is owned by baseball great Kazuhiro Sasaki and is coming off a third in the Japan Cup after win in the G2 Copa Republica Argentina over 2500m at Tokyo in November.
GOLD ACTOR : Last year’s Arima Kinen winner and now a 5YO. By Screen Hero, he has won four times at Nakayama from six starts at the track. Overall he’s won nine times from 17 starts and most recently finished fourth in the Japan Cup.
Trainer Tadashige Nakagawa reports “no big change in his condition” since the Cup. Jockey Hayato Yoshida has certainly made the ride his, having ridden Gold Actor a total of 11 times.
MIKKI QUEEN : Strengthens trainer Yasutoshi Ikee’s grip on the race.
“She’s moving well and her breathing’s getting better,” Ikee said. “She’ll be taking on top class older horses in the race and the key point will be how well she can do that.”
The Deep Impact filly has two G1 wins to her name in the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) and the Shuka Sho, both in 2015. She most recently finished third in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup and it will be her first run at Nakayama.
SOUNDS OF EARTH : This 5YO by Neo Universe got the closest to Kitasan Black in the Japan Cup, when finishing off well to take second.
He seems destined to finish second in too many races, having been runner-up eight times in 19 starts including last year’s Arima Kinen.
In seven G1 starts his best placing has been second three times. Connections are hoping they can end the jinx, and if anybody can it’s his jockey, Mirco Demuro. He has landed four G1 wins this year and he’s stalking his 19th G1 win overall in Japan.
MARIALITE : This will be the final start for the 5YO mare by Deep Impact, who won this year’s G1 Takarazuka Kinen over 2200m.
She has raced in four G1 races throughout her career and has won two of them amd trainer Takashi Kubota is hoping for a good finish to her career.
“Since returning to the stable after a break, she looks to be in good shape,” Kubota said. “I want to have her just right for her last run.”
Marialite has raced at Nakayama seven times for two wins, and finished fourth in last year’s Arima Kinen. Jockey Masayoshi Ebina will be riding her for the 16th time.
YAMAKATSU ACE : The 4YO by King Kamehameha is coming off a G2 win in the Kinko Sho at Chukyo over 2000m on December 3.
He is trained by Kaneo Ikezoe with three unplaced runs in G1 races among hisw 21 starts but he does have six career wins to his name.
|R10 NAKAYAMA||25 December 2016|
|ARIMA KINEN (THE GRAND PRIX) 3U , 2500m|
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