Sunday Racing’s five-year-old mare Chrono Genesis (JPN) took the lead in deep stretch and won Sunday’s $3 million, 1 3/8-mile Takarazuka Kinen (G1) at Hanshin Racecourse by 2 ¾ lengths and earned an automatic berth, and fees paid, into the $4million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 84 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 Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California, on Nov. 5-6.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Chrono Genesis, to start in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, which will be run at 1 ½ miles on the Del Mar turf course. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a travel allowance of US$40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
The odds-on favorite in the 62nd Takarazuka Kinen, Chrono Genesis, a bay daughter of Bago (FR) out of the Kurofune mare Chronologist (JPN), covered the 1 3/8 miles in 2:10.9 over a course listed as good to firm. Trained by Takashi Saito and ridden for the first time by Christophe Lemaire, Chrono Genesis improved her record to eight wins in 15 starts. She also become the third horse this year to earn a “Win and You’re In” berth into the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf, joining Cool Day (ARG), who won the Gran Premio International Carlos Pellegrini (G1) at Palermo in Argentina, and Love (IRE), who captured Prince of Wales’s Stakes (G1) at Royal Ascot.
Facing 12 rivals, Chrono Genesis broke well from post seven and settled around fifth while eyeing the 7-2 second choice Lei Papale (JPN), a 4-year-old filly who came into the race unbeaten in six starts. Though surrounded by horses entering the lane, Chrono Genesis waited until finding an open space 300 meters out and exerted a powerful burst of speed with the fastest last 3-furlong drive. She overtook 27-1 Unicorn Lion (IRE), and Lei Papale before reaching the wire with a comfortable 2-1/2-length margin.
Takarazuka Kinen Replay
“The mare was in very good condition and looked great at the paddock,” said winning rider Lemaire, who replaced the injured Yuichi Kitamura, Chrono Genesis’s regular rider, for this race. “We were able to race in good position behind Lei Papale. She stretched really well and was able to run the last 200 meters easily.”
Seventh-pick Unicorn Lion and Lei Papale broke smoothly from the first two stalls and immediately surged out to take the front. Continuing to lead the field with Unicorn Lion setting the pace and Lei Papale pressing the pace in second, the two dueled strongly entering the lane. Though overtaken by Chrono Genesis 100 meters out, Unicorn Lion and Lei Papale held off the rest of the field by two lengths to finish second and third, respectively.
In winning back-to-back Takarazuka Kinen titles, Chrono Genesis became the first horse to do so since Gold Ship (JPN) in 2013 and 2014. Coming off a close runner-up effort in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) in March, this win marked her fourth Group 1 and sixth group-stakes victory. Along with her Takarazuka Kinen and Arima Kinen (G1) titles last year, she became the fifth horse and first mare to win three Grand Prix races. Her career earnings surpassed a billion yen to become the fifth mare to do so after Vodka (JPN), Buena Vista (JPN), Gentildonna (JPN) and Almond Eye (JPN).