Titleholder Wins Takarazuka Kinen in Japan and Gains Automatic Berth into Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf

June 26, 2022

TAKARAZUKA, HYOGO— Hiroshi Yamada’s Titleholder (JPN),took control inside the final quarter-mile and swept to a 2-length victory in course-record time over Hishi Iguazu (JPN) in the 1 3/8-mile Takarazuka Kinen (G1) at Hanshin Racecourse. With this victory, Titleholder earned an automatic starting position and fees paid into the US$4 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, which will be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 4-5.

Titleholder, a 4-year-old son of Duramante (JPN), trained by Toru Kurita and ridden by Kazuo Yokoyama, becomes  the third horse to earn a Breeders’ Cup Challenge berth into this year’s Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, joining Village King (ARG), winner of the Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini (G1) in Argentina, and State Of Rest (IRE), who won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot.    

Registering his third Group 1 triumph, Titleholder, now six of 12 lifetime, completed the 1 3/8 miles in 2:09.7 over a course listed as to good to firm.

Titleholder, the 4-1 second choice in the 17-horse field, made a smooth break from stall six  and settled in second along the backstretch, 3 lengths behind 10-1 Panthalassa (JPN). Titleholder gradually closed in on the leader approaching the last two corners and, after drawing even with Panthalassa entering the stretch, easily pulled away with powerful strides for a comfortable victory.

“This was my fourth race with Titleholder and I knew how the colt could run in good rhythm,” said winning rider Yokoyama. “The pace was fast but I wasn’t concerned because he still had enough power left in the straight. He’s still in the process of maturing and I think he’ll get better going forward.” 

Following the race, winning trainer Kurita indicated that Titleholder would be pointed next to the  Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), also a Breeders’ Cup Challenge race for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, on Oct. 2 at ParisLongchamp.

Hishi Iguazu, the 9-1 fifth choice, broke well to settle around sixth by the rail, angled out slightly after the third corner and launched the fastest late drive to pass his rivals one by one in the last 300 meters but failed to close in on the winner while securing the runner-up spot. 

Daring Tact (JPN), the 2020 Fillies’ Triple Crown winner, sat in 10th place just behindEfforia (JPN), the 3-1 favorite. Daring Tact made headway on the outer path passing the 1,000-meter point, showed the second fastest late kick and, although unable to threaten the top two finishers, nosed out Deep Bond (JPN) right before the wire to finish third. Meiner Fanrong (JPN) finished fifth, followed by Efforia in sixth, Win Marilyn (JPN) in seventh and Panthalassa in eighth.  

Authority (JPN) was a late scratch.

Today’s win was Titleholder’s fourth in his last five starts. He captured the 1 7/8-mile Kikuka Sho (Japanese St. Leger) (G1) wire to wire at Hanshin last October and after closing the year with a fifth-place finish in the Arima Kinen (G1) on Dec. 26, he opened 2022 with a front-running score in the 1 9/16-mile Nikkei Sho (G2) at Nakayama on March 26. Prior to the Takarazuka Kinen, he won the 2-mile Tenno Sho (Spring) (G1) at Hanshin by 7 lengths on May 1.

As a part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Titleholder 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. 

Breeders Cup Press Release

Photo: Titleholder (JRA Photo)

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