Unbeaten Race Favorite Saturnalia Claims This Year’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) Title

Saturnalia wins Satsuki Sho.

Unbeaten Race Favorite Saturnalia Claims This Year’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas) Title

Saturnalia wins Satsuki Sho.

SATURNALIA winning the Satsuki Sho in Nakayama, Japan.
SATURNALIA winning the Satsuki Sho in Nakayama, Japan. Picture:Japan Racing Association

Overwhelming race favorite Saturnalia Horseform won this year’s Satsuki Sho to register two consecutive G1 victories following the year-end Hopeful Stakes. Unbeaten in all his for starts since his debut last year, the son of Lord Kanaloa and out of Cesario became the 17th unbeaten colt to claim the Satsuki Sho since Deep Impact in 2005. Trainer Katsuhiko Sumii claimed his 25th JRA-G1 title following his win in the 2017 Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) with Kiseki and his second Satsuki Sho victory following his win with Victoire Pisa in 2010. This win marked jockey Christophe Lemaire’s 24th JRA-G1 win following the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) title with Gran Alegria just last week. He became the ninth jockey in JRA history to have won all five classic titles for three-year-old colts and fillies.

Breaking smoothly from stall 12, Saturnalia settled in mid-division, around ninth from Lance of Puraana who set a moderate pace. Traveling wide behind Velox Horseform, the son of Lord Kanaloa closed the gap between the frontrunners turning the last two corners and surged out behind Velox after entering the lane. With four horses rallying to take the front at the 200-meter pole, SaturnaliaVelox and Danon Kingly Horseform continued to maintain strong speed in the last 100 meters to launch a fierce rally up to the wire with Saturnalia managing to come home a head in front.

“I rode him for the first time in the race but I had confidence in him. He seemed a bit nervous and drifted towards the inside when we took command before the crowd. His condition was not 100% as it was his first start this year but he should be in top condition going into the Japanese Derby,” commented Christophe Lemaire.

Fourth choice Velox traveled two wide in striking position, around 5-6th from the front. The son of Just a Way was the first to enter the lane and while falling back to third in the three-horse rally, found another gear in his last strides to beat Danon Kingly by a nose for second place.

Third favorite Danon Kingly broke sharply and settled fourth from the front while taking an economic trip by the rails. The Deep Impact colt met traffic entering the lane but found a narrow space between horses, unleashed a powerful charge from the inside to launch a fierce rally with the eventual winner and runner-up and, though taking the front at one point, was a head and a nose short at the wire to finish third.

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