A longshot to key with Almond Eye in the Arima Kinen

Almond Eye wasn’t originally supposed to turn up in this spot, but a slight illness caused her to miss a scheduled run in Hong Kong two weeks ago, so her connections rerouted her to the Arima Kinen.

Vacation springs upset victory in Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun

The Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby gained a new leader December 18, when the promising Vacation rallied to a last-second triumph in the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun at Kawasaki Racecourse.

2019 Kentucky Derby Contender Profile: Master Fencer

The recent confirmation that Japan’s Master Fencer will contest the 2019 Kentucky Derby has added a bit of international intrigue to the Run for the Roses. Master Fencer will be just the third Japan-based runner to compete in the Derby, and he’ll be making history as the first Derby starter bred in Japan. His participation will naturally provide a challenge for handicappers, since it’s difficult to determine how his form compares to that of the more clearly established Derby contenders [...]

Der Flug Wins Final Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Prep Race

The Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby reached its conclusion with the Fukuryu Stakes at Nakayama Racecourse on March 31, though it remains to be seen whether the four-race series will produce a starter for the 2019 Kentucky Derby. Eight horses lined up to contest the 1,800-meter race, though with the well-regarded Derma Louvre on the road for the UAE Derby (UAE-II) and last month’s Hyacinth Stakes winner Oval Ace absent from the action, the Fukuryu field was a bit [...]

Kentucky Derby, Oaks Candidates Face Off in Japan’s Hyacinth Stakes

Tokyo Racecourse (Photo courtesy of the Japan Racing Association) If you’re a forward-looking handicapper already anticipating major spring races like the UAE Derby, Kentucky Derby, and Kentucky Oaks, then I encourage you to stay up late on Saturday night and check out the Hyacinth Stakes in Japan. Held over a metric mile at Tokyo Racecourse, the Hyacinth (which technically takes place at 12:25 a.m. Eastern on Sunday Morning) serves as the third leg of the Japan Road to [...]

Filly Make Happy Earns Derby Qualification Points in Cattleya Sho

Tokyo Racecourse (Photo Courtesy of the JRA) If you haven’t already placed a bet on the “All Other Three-Year-Old Fillies” option in Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 1, maybe you need to open your wallet and reconsider, because against the odds a filly has already won a Kentucky Derby prep race. That victory came courtesy of Make Happy, who posted a convincing win in the November 24th Cattleya Sho at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan, earning 10 qualifications points on [...]

Persian Knight, Mozu Ascot Among Major Names in Mile Championship

Persian Knight winning the 2017 Mile Championship (Jpn-I) at Kyoto - Photo courtesy of the Japan Racing Association If your weekend plans include handicapping high-class, ultra-competitive races with huge fields, then Sunday’s Mile Championship (Jpn-I) at Kyoto in Japan should absolutely be on your radar. Eighteen horses have been entered in the prestigious 1,600-meter turf test, and truthfully, drawing a name from a hat might give you roughly the same chance of picking the winner as actually handicapping [...]

Mozu Katchan Seeks Repeat Win in Queen Elizabeth II Cup

Mozu Katchan winning the 2017 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Jpn-I) - Photo courtesy of the Japan Racing Association The autumn racing season in Japan is well underway, and the weekly parade of Group 1 races will continue on November 11th with the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (Jpn-I) at Kyoto, a 2,200-meter event that serves as a major prize for some of the nation’s best fillies and mares. The Filly Triple Crown winner Almond Eye is skipping the Queen Elizabeth [...]

How to Bet the Tenno Sho Autumn

Rey de Oro winning the Sankei Sho All Comers Stakes (Jpn-II) - Photo courtesy of the Japan Racing Association The racing action in North America might be quiet this week (understandable since the Breeders’ Cup is just one week away), but across the globe in Japan, Sunday is shaping up to be a massive day with the Tenno Sho Autumn (Jpn-I) at Tokyo Racecourse pitting some of Japan’s best middle-distance runners against each other in a 2,000-meter test [...]

Epoca d’Oro Seeks Another Classic Win in Kikuka Sho

Epoca d'Oro winning the Satsuki Sho (Jpn-I) (Photo courtesy of the Japan Racing Association) A classic winner and an up-and-comer with an impressive recent victory are among the eighteen horses entered to contest Sunday’s Kikuka Sho (Jpn-I) at Kyoto racecourse in Japan. The 3,000-meter turf test serves as the third and final leg of Japan’s Triple Crown, and while the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner is skipping the race, the runners that have been entered are a quality [...]