Blow the Horn Announces His Presence in G1 Takarazuka Kinen

June 23, 2024

Blow the Horn victorious in the Takarazuka Kinen (Hiroki Yamanaka)

Edited Release from the Japan Racing Association

KYOTO, Japan— Blow the Horn (JPN) announced his presence at the top level in Japan by notching his first Grade 1 victory June 23 in the $3.3 million Takarazuka Kinen (G1) at Kyoto Racecourse.

With his two-length victory over Sol Oriens (JPN) in the 1 3/8-mile grass race, Blow the Horn gained an automatic berth into this year’s $5 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In.

Now in its 18th season, the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 82 graded stakes races in 12 countries 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, Calif.

The Takarazuka Kinen served as one of two “All-Star” races in Japan this year, in which fans voted for horses they wish to see in competition, and Blow the Horn showed why he merited inclusion. Third choice in the field of 13, he took the long way around a yielding Kyoto turf course, racing wide while traveling near the tail of the pack.

As the field approached the last of two turns, Blow the Horn began to advance, making up ground behind a legitimate pace set by Rouge Eveil (JPN). Fanned out widest for the stretch run, he uncorked an explosive stretch kick under jockey Akira Sugawara to take command in the final 100 yards of the race.

“We were able to win the race because the horse ran really hard despite the (yielding) going,” Sugawara told the Japan Racing Association. “Although we were positioned further back than planned and took the widest route, the horse seemed to have plenty of strength left when we turned (for home) so I urged him to go at the stretch and he responded with a remarkable turn of speed.”

Blow the Horn was not the only one to win his first Grade 1 in Sunday’s race. Trainer Tatsuya Yoshioka, who opened his yard in 2020 and began training Blow the Horn after the retirement of former trainer Eiji Nakano, also captured his first top-level score, as did Sugawara.

The winner, a 5-year-old son of Epiphaneia (JPN) owned by Makio Okada, was bred in Japan by Okada Stud out of the Durandal (JPN) mare Halteclere (JPN). He was clocked in 2:12.0 for the distance over the damp ground.

His victory was his seventh in 21 starts, and his second this year. He began 2024 with a victory in the Jan. 14 Nikkei Shinshun Hai (G2) at Kyoto before running third in the March 17 Hanshin Daishoten (G2) at Hanshin and the April 28 Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1) at Kyoto.

Last year’s Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1) victor Sol Oriens was no match for the winner’s late surge but rallied to grab second, edging third-place Bellagio Opera (JPN) by a neck.

Failing to threaten was the favorite and race’s leading money earner, Do Deuce (JPN), who checked in sixth, two spots ahead of Rouge Eveil, who tired through the stretch.

The final Grade 1 of the first half of the year in Japan, the Takarazuka Kinen was run at Kyoto due to ongoing renovation at Hanshin. Attendance on Sunday was 55,530 despite rainy weather.

The Takaruzaka Kinen was the last of four Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races held in Japan this year. In addition to Blow the Horn, the three other automatic qualifiers from Japan for the 2024 World Championships, with corresponding Breeders’ Cup race in parentheses, are: February Stakes (G1) winner Peptide Nile (JPN) ($7 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic, G1); Victoria Mile (G1) winner Ten Happy Rose (JPN) ($2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, G1); and Yasuda Kinen (G1) winner Romantic Warrior (IRE) ($2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile, G1).

As a part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Blow the Horn to start in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.

@jonathanstettin What a surprise….thank you—- thank you….I can say I was part of history.

John Ball (@P3Tacco) View testimonials



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