Danon Kingly Upsets Favored Gran Alegria in Yasuda Kinen at Tokyo and Gains Automatic Berth into FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile
Photo of Danon Kingly courtesy of © Japan Racing Association
TOKYO (June 6, 2021) ― Danox Co’s 5-year-old Danon Kingly (JPN), at 47-1, defeated 5-year-old mare and odds-on favorite Gran Alegria (JPN) by a head in Sunday’s 1-mile, US$2.68 million Yasuda Kinen (G1) on turf at Tokyo Racecourse. With this victory, Danon Kingly gained an automatic berth into the US$2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 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 the 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 Danon Kingly, a son of Deep Impact (JPN), trained by Kiyoshi Hagiwara and ridden by Yuga Kawada, to start in the FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile, which will be run at 1 mile over 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.
Danon Kingly, making his first start of the year, improved his record to six wins in 12 starts. In registering his first Group 1 victory, Danon Kingly completed the mile in 1:31.7 over a course listed as good to firm.
In the 71st Yasuda Kinen, Danon Kingly crushed defending champion Gran Alegria’s high hopes of a consecutive Yasuda Kinen title. Breaking from stall 11 in a field of 14 runners, Danon Kingly traveled two-wide in mid-pack a couple of lengths in front of the favorite while Daiwa Cagney (JPN) led the field. Still near the rear at the final bend, Danon Kingly took a center-lane path and unleashed a determined stretch run climbing the Tokyo course hill to finally draw even with 2019 Yasuda Kinen winner and second-choice, Indy Champ (JPN), and Schnell Meister (GER) at the front. The only female in the field, Gran Alegria, ridden by Christophe Lemaire, was far back but finally loomed up inside 100 meters. While Indy Champ and Schnell Meister weakened after a brief rally in the final strides, Danon Kingly narrowly held off the strong challenge from Gran Alegria by a head margin.
‟He felt a bit tense first entering the track but he had good rhythm during the trip and had plenty of horse left,” commented winning rider Kawada. “He responded just as I hoped turning the last corner and ran well after that. Although he hasn’t been able to put in his best results in the past, he has definitely demonstrated his true strength today and I’m happy to have been a part of it in my first time in the saddle.”
On target to notch her second Yasuda Kinen title, Gran Alegria was reserved fourth from the rear and found herself trapped behind a wall of horses in the straight. She finally weaved through horses to reach contention in the last half-furlong and dug in fiercely, but was too late. Three-year-old and fourth pick Schnell Meister took a wide trip down the backstretch sitting outside of Indy Champ while gradually making headway up to fifth before hitting the top of the stretch. With the eventual winner on his outside and runner-up behind him, this year’s NHK Mile Cup (G1) winner ran strongly to reach the front 100 meters out and joined a brief rally with three older foes but lacked the final kick. Schnell Meister finished a half-length behind Gran Alegria in third.
Danon Kingly kicked off his career with three wins, including the Kyodo News Hai (G3) before finishing third in the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas, G1, 2,000m) and a second in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby, G1, 2,400m) in 2019. He won the Nakayama Kinen (G2) in February 2020, was third in the Osaka Hai (G3), and seventh in last year’s Yasuda Kinen. He was given long break after running a disappointing 12th in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1, 2,000m) last November.
ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.
The 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 5-6 at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media.
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