While all of Japan will have their eyes mostly on a little race in France on Sunday, back in Japan the sprinters take centre stage once again in the aptly named G1 Sprinters Stakes.
Some familiar faces will do battle in here including the 1-2 finishers of the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen in March. Danon Smash is looking to sweep the G1 Sprint events in Japan while tough filly Resistencia is looking for revenge. Will it be either of them or possibly a new shooter on the scene.
Race 11 – G1 Sprinters Stakes – 6f Turf – 3yo & up – 2:40 am ET/11:40 pm PT
4 Pixie Knight – Candice, Robert and I all landed with him as our top selection so the weight of the world is on him, at least all of my COVID weight!. One of two three-year-olds in the field, Pixie has put in two back to back top efforts vs. older company. He ran into a buzz saw effort from First Force two back when trying elders for the first time, that one taking the field wire to wire in a blistering 1:06.1!. In his last race he had to take the overland route when drawing wide and coming home late to just miss Resistencia. Retains the services of top jock Fukunaga and gets in with the light weight allowance. I can see First Force and Resistencia heating things up on the front end, Pixie sitting a perfect trip in behind horses and surging late for the win. Should be a decent price for the win.
11 Gendarme – 6 year old by Kitten’s Joy makes his third start off of layoff in here and could be sitting on a prime effort. One of only two horses in the field to have won over this racetrack and is 50% in the money from nine starts. Had a rough trip in his last start, missing the break then going wide to circle the field. He came home with a full head of steam and finished up in a fantastic time (1:07.1), just missing the top three finishers by a length and a half. Willing to ignore his first start back, being a strangely run race that day with half of the field going very wide on the turn, meanwhile the winner had a clean run on the rail. Think he’ll be a bit of a price in here and will be charging late. The pace should set up his late run and on his best can get a piece of this. He’ll try to win it for his mom (she won this race in 2002)!
12 Resistencia – Top sprinting filly returned to what she does best in her last start, after a failed stretch out effort in the G1 Victoria Mile in May she came back to win a strong renewal of the 6f G2 Centaur Stakes (a key prep for this race). Jockey Lemaire was aboard that day and employed stalking tactics to score the victory. This is a fast filly that puts herself into the game early and will need that early speed to secure a stalking trip today. The draw didn’t help her efforts in here and can see a similar trip to the one she had in the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen, where wide throughout and had nothing left to hold off the late charge of Danon Smash. A talented filly and yet to finish worse than 2nd at sprint distances. It’s her first time racing at Nakayama, a bad draw and Lemaire on board means that for me I’ll let this tough knocking filly try and beat me today. Will be there at the finish.
5 First Force – It’s not often you see a horse come back to the races after an almost eight month layoff and win a G3 in track record time!. First Force and his rider Sameshima will be one place and that is on the front end. Expect him to quarter horse out of the gate and take up early position on or near the front. He gets a perfect draw in here with his main challengers having wide draws or not able to keep up with his early foot. Was not embarrassed in his last start, charging late to finish second to Yoka Yoka who took him out of his game by being on the lead. Is 3 for 6 sprinting and you could find worse longshots in this field. If they let him go he could be gone turning for home. Upset special at double digit odds!