Grade 1 Action in Japan Tonight

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By Emily Shields

After the dust has settled from the blockbuster Gulfstream Park card Saturday, there is still another top card of racing in the world, and that is at Japan’s Chukyo tonight

The 1200 meter (about six furlong) Takamatsunomiya Kinen is a Grade 1 race for turf sprinters worth about $2.6 million US. The race drew 18 runners, including Gran Alegria, Tower of London, and Mozu Ascot.

Gran Alegria was last year’s Champion Three Year Old Filly, winner of the Grade 1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) and the Hanshin Cup (G2) in December. Kenichi Ikezoe will ride the daughter of Deep Impact, who is out of Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf heroine Tapitsfly. The Tapit dam won Grade 1 stakes at Belmont and Keeneland in her career.

Tower of London was a top sprinter last year, taking the Sprinters Stakes (G1) at Nakayama in September and the Sankei Sho Centaur Stakes (G2) at Hanshin. The Godolphin-owned son of Raven’s Pass is well proven at the distance and has won seven of 15 lifetime with 13 top three efforts.

Mozu Ascot is a son of Frankel and another top American mare, India. He is a Grade 1 winner on dirt and turf, most recently taking the February Stakes on February 23 on the dirt in Tokyo. The seven-time winner will be ridden by Micro Demuro.

Danon Smash won his 2020 bow in a Grade 3 at Nakayama. He was fourth in this race last year, but since then won the Keeneland Cup (G3) last August. He is a seven-time winner by Lord Kanaloa with more American ties to his pedigree; second dam Hollywood Wildcat won the Breeders’ Cup Distaff and produced Breeders’ Cup Mile winner War Chant. He finished behind Tower of London last out.

Mozu Superflare ran second in that race with Tower of London and Danon Smash. The five-year-old mare by Speightstown is coming off a loss in her 2020 debut but last year won twice, including the Grade 3 Yukan Fuji Sho Ocean at Nakayama. Fuma Matsuwaka will ride.

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