3 minute read
Equinox wins this year’s Tenno Sho (Autumn) at Tokyo.
Attended by both the Emperor Naruhito and Empress Masako, heavy favorite Equinox set a new track record that shortened the previous time by 0.9 seconds to a staggering 1:55.2 over the 2,000-meter trip, and became the third horse after Symboli Kris S (2002-2003) and Almond Eye (2019-2020) to successfully defend his title in this year's Tenno Sho (Autumn). The victory extended his winning streak, all at G1 status, to five since his last victory in the same race last year followed by the Arima Kiken (2,500m), the 2023 Dubai Sheema Classic (2,410m) and the Takarazuka Kinen (2,200m) this spring. Trainer Tetsuya Kimura claimed his sixth JRA-G1 title, the latest being the Takarazuka Kinen with this colt, while jockey Christophe Lemaire had just won the Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) with Durezza last week and registered his 47th JRA-G1 title with his fifth Tenno Sho (Autumn) victory after with Rey de Oro in 2018, Almond Eye in 2019 and 2020 and this colt in last year.
With all eleven starters breaking smoothly, Equinox followed Jack d'Or, who rushed out for the lead and set the pace, into a nice forward position, just off the rails, in third position. Maintaining a nice rhythm a few lengths behind the leader who set a rapid pace that timed 57.7 seconds in the first half (1,000 meters), Equinox was already within a length distance from Gaia Force who inherited the lead at the 400-meter pole and as soon as overtaking that foe with 300 meters to go, the Kitasan Black colt pulled away easily and uncontested for a 2-1/2-lengths victory.
"First of all, I am relieved to have been able to show the world, which I know was watching how the race favorite would run, that he is indeed a deserving colt to be named the highest rated colt. He's not exactly what you call a horse with incredible speed but he was able to keep up with today's rapid pace and get into another gear at the end—but I was actually surprised when I realized that we had won in a record. He is a versatile horse that can run from any position, stay calm during the race and make use of his speed at the finish. He can also run at longer distances such as when he won the Arima Kinen, so although there was much pressure coming into such a prestigious race as race favorite, I was confident knowing what he is capable of," commented Christophe Lemaire after the race.
Sixth pick Justin Palace was unhurried after a smooth break, sitting well off the pace and more than 10 lengths from the leader along the backstretch. Last to enter the stretch as the field closed in rounding the final corner, the Deep Impact colt followed Prognosis and shifted further out for a clear path where he exerted a fine turn of speed that timed the fastest over the last three furlongs to secure the runner-up spot while unable to cause any threat to the winner.
Third favorite Prognosis traveled in the far rear through the first half and joined the rest of the field rounding the final turn while still positioned near the rear. Shifting out for a clear stretch run, the five-year-old son of Deep Impact responded well to reach contention 200 meters out in a rally for second and while beaten by Justin Palace at the 100-meter marker, managed to out-finish Danon Beluga by a head for third.
4th: (4) Danon Beluga—sat 2-wide around 8th, showed effort but missed 3rd place by a head
5th: (5) Gaia Force—tracked leader in 2nd, took brief lead 400m out, weakened in last 200m
6th: (11) Admire Hadar—ran 3-wide around 7th, even paced at stretch
7th: (3) Do Deuce—settled 2-wide behind winner around 4th, showed effort up to 200m pole
8th: (2) Echt—took economic trip around 8th, unable to reach contention
9th: (8) Hishi Iguazu—raced 3-wide around 4th, failed to respond after final corner
10th: (1) North Bridge—traveled around 4th on rails, showed little at stretch
11th: (10) Jack d'Or—set fast pace, surrendered lead at 400m pole, faded