A Seriously ‘Deep’ Tenno Sho

By Alan Carasso

Sunday’s fall renewal of the G1 Tenno Sho has a little something for everyone. A Japanese Horse of the Year, a reigning champion juvenile filly by one of the world’s most promising young stallions and no fewer than eight Group 1 winners.

The punting public wagered nearly US$14 million in the win and show pools alone on last year’s Tenno Sho, won in smart style by Horse of the Year Maurice (Jpn) (Screen Hero {Jpn}) and this race figures a similarly enticing event from a handicapping perspective. Kitasan Black (Jpn) (Black Tide {Jpn}) is the reigning HOTY in Japan and makes the third-last start of his career Sunday. Winner of last year’s G1 Japan Cup, the sleek bay defeated Staphanos (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) and Yamakatsu Ace (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) in the G1 Osaka Hai in April before adding the G1 Tenno Sho (Spring) over two miles. He dropped back to the 2200m of the G1 Takarazuka Kinen, but raced like a horse that was over the top, weakening out to finish ninth. He runs first-up here prior to scheduled appearances in this year’s Japan Cup and G1 Arima Kinen.

“I think he was more tired than he appeared to be going into the Takarazuka Kinen,” trainer Hisashi Shimizu said. “He’s a smart horse and I have the feeling that he quit running on his own before he could injure himself. This time I wanted to get him ready slowly and brought him back to the training center early.”

Kitasan Black is by Deep Impact (Jpn)’s full-brother Black Tide and Deep Impact is represented by no fewer than seven runners in the Tenno Sho. In addition to Staphanos, second and third in the last two runnings, respectively, Real Steel (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn} looks primed for a top effort. Winner of the 2016 G1 Dubai Turf, the 5-year-old was snapping a four-race losing streak when touching off G1 Yasuda Kinen hero Satono Aladdin (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the G2 Mainichi Okan at this venue Oct. 8. Deep Impact sired 2014 Tenno Sho winner Spielberg (Jpn).

Soul Stirring (Jpn) (Frankel {GB}) was last year’s champion juvenile filly and has held her form this year with wins in the G3 Tulip Sho (1600m) and in the G1 Yushun Himba (2400m) (Japanese Oaks). She resumed in the Mainichi Okan, but was sent to the lead from gate one and faltered late to finish eighth. Christophe Lemaire will look to come from off the speed this time.

So talented is this field that Neorealism (Jpn) (Neo Universe {Jpn}) will start deep into the double digits on the tote. The chestnut defeated Sakura Empereur (Jpn) (King Kamehameha {Jpn}) by three-parts of a length in the Feb. 26 G2 Nakayama Kinen (1800m) ahead of a neck defeat of ‘TDN Rising Star’ Pakistan Star (Ger) (Shamardal) in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2000m) in Hong Kong when last seen in April.


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