Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Concludes at Nakayama

Sent off the 3-2 favorite, Mitono O (Jpn) (Logotype {Jpn}) led every step of the way en route to a 2 1/2-length victory in Saturday’s nine-furlong Fukuryu S. (allowance) at rain-soaked Nakayama Racecourse. The win was worth 40 points on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby and secures connections a berth in the Run for the Roses should they choose to accept.

Soon in front for jockey Takuya Kowata, the blaze-faced chestnut went along comfortably on the lead, cruising through an opening 800-meter split of :49 flat and six furlongs in 1:13.1. Always traveling like a winner, Mitono O cut the corner into the stretch, pinched an unassailable advantage and proved easily best as Mokku Mokku (Jpn) (Danon Legend {Jpn}) closed off well down the center while no threat to the winner. Hero Call (Jpn) (Hokko Tarumae {Jpn}) was third (see below, SC 7).

A maiden winner at first asking going this distance at Chukyo in August, Mitono O was runner-up to future Listed Hyacinth S. hero and G2 UAE Derby entrant Perriere (Jpn) (Henny Hughes) in a seven-furlong allowance at Tokyo Nov. 12. He was a course-and-distance allowance winner when last seen Jan. 7.

A son of multiple Canadian Grade III winner Seductively (Thunder Gulch), who was purchased by Shadai Farm for $535,000 in foal to Bernardini at Keeneland November in 2008, Mitono O was an ¥18,700,000 graduate of the 2021 Hokkaido Selection Yearling Sale. His win Saturday took his earnings to north of ¥36 million.

Should the Derby invite not be accepted by the first-place finisher, the bid will be offered to the second-, third- and fourth-placegetters. Perriere currently sits on 30 points, while fellow UAE Derby entrant Derma Sotogake (Jpn) (Mind Your Biscuits) has 20 points courtesy of his victory in the Listed Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun in December. The UAE Derby is a Derby qualifier separate and apart from the Japanese series and offers the winner 100 points.


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