BC W&I: Do Deuce, Justin Palace Top Takarazuka Kinen

June 21, 2024

Do Deuce (Japan Racing Association)

Winner Gains Automatic Berth into Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf for World Championships at Del Mar

Breeders’ Cup Press Release

KYOTO, Japan ─ A field of 13 horses led by Do Deuce (JPN) and Justin Palace (JPN), who last raced in late March against international competition in Dubai, will line up June 23 in Japan’s $3.3 million Takarazuka Kinen (G1).

The final Grade 1 of the first half of the year in Japan, Sunday’s 1 3/8-mile turf race at Kyoto Racecourse provides the winner an automatic starting position into the $5 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In.

The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 82 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, scheduled to be held Nov. 1-2 at Del Mar Thoroughbred Club in Del Mar, California.

Three years ago, when the World Championships was held at Del Mar, two Japanese horses, Loves Only You (JPN) and March Lorraine (JPN), scored Breeders’ Cup victories, the first Breeders’ Cup wins for Japanese-based runners.

The Takarazuka Kinen, one of two “All-Star” races this year, where fans vote for the horses, they wish to see race, will be shown live on FanDuel TV at 2:40 a.m. ET. It will be run at Kyoto Racecourse rather than at Hanshin due to ongoing renovation there.

Do Deuce has never raced at Kyoto, and Justin Palace has only raced there once when he captured the Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1) in April 2023.

The 5-year-old Do Deuce is a seasoned traveler, having also raced in France in addition to Dubai. The Dubai start was his last race, a fifth-place finish in the March 30 Dubai Turf Sponsored by DP World (G1) at a shorter distance of 1 1/8 miles on Dubai World Cup Day at Meydan.

“In the home straight last time, he wasn’t able to find a way through and get a good finish,” trainer Yasuo Tomomichi told the JRA. “He returned to Japan without any problems and has had a break at Northern Farm Shigaraki. In training at the end of last month, his times were faster than I thought. More recently, he’s been moving well in his work with other horses, despite the pace not being that quick.”

When last in Japan, the son of Heart’s Cry (JPN) took the Arima Kinen (Grand Prix) (G1) Dec. 24 at Nakayama, one of his six career victories from 13 starts for owner Kieffers Co Ltd. Jockey Yutaka Take, a four-time winner of the Takarazuka Kinen, rides.

While Justin Palace, a 5-year-old son of Deep Impact (JPN) trained by Haruki Sugiyama, also exits a Dubai World Cup Day race in Dubai at Meydan, it was in a different top-level stakes contest, the longer 1 1/2-mile Longines Dubai Sheema Classic (G1), where he finished fourth behind 2022 Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) victor Rebel’s Romance (IRE).

Taking the ride for the first time on Masahiro Miki’s Justin Palace since they paired together to win the 2023 Tenno Sho (Spring) is jockey Christophe Lemaire.

One horse coming off a last-out victory is Bellagio Opera (JPN), who captured the 1 1/4-mile Osaka Hai (G1) back in March. He is 5-for-8, with one of his three losses coming when he was second in the Kyoto Kinen (G2) in February in his only Kyoto attempt.

Second behind Bellagio Opera in the Osaka Hai was Rousham Park (JPN), who rattled off three straight wins in Japan last year, including a Group 3 and Group 2, before running eighth in the Longines Hong Kong Cup (G1) in December.

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