One of Japan’s top dirt horses, U. Carrot Farm’s flashy chestnut mare Marche Lorraine (JPN) looks to be the first Japanese runner in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1). The daughter of Japanese Horse of the Year Orfevre has won eight of 20 starts (earning more than $1.8 million), including her last run in August’s Breeders’ Gold Cup over 10 furlongs at Mombetsu —her third stakes victory of 2021.
Earlier this year, she flashed her versatility with a victory in the 9-furlong Tck Jo-O Hai (Listed) at Oi Racecourse six weeks before winning the 11-furlong Empress Hai (Listed) at Kawasaki. Group/graded races are few and far between on the much-less-celebrated dirt racing program in Japan, but the horses to excel over its testing surfaces have gone on to do well around the world, including 2021 Dubai World Cup (G1) runner-up Chuwa Wizard.
An ability to successfully tackle multiple circumstances appears a running theme in Marche Lorraine’s running lines, as she is a three-time winner on turf (both good and firm) and has proven victorious from 8½ to 11 furlongs on fast, good and muddy dirt tracks. She is named after a famed French anthem and has marched to her own beat throughout her career, while clashing with some of the best Japan has to offer on the dirt.
A four-time winner over the 1 1/8-miles distance of the Distaff, the granddaughter of 1995 Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) ninth French Deputy enters as a wild card, who must be respected, especially considering her connections.
Trainer Yoshito Yahagi has consistently shipped horses with success around the world, including champion mare Lys Gracieux (JPN), who won Australia’s Cox Plate (G1); Loves Only You (JPN), who was a close third this year in the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) before winning the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) in Hong Kong; and Loves Only You’s full brother Real Steel (JPN), winner of the 2016 Dubai Turf (G1). Yahagi also trains Contrail (JPN), winner of the 2020 Japanese Triple Crown. He is one of the favorites for the upcoming Japan Cup (G1) and was recently a very good third in the Prix de la Foret (G1) on Arc Day.
Lys Gracieux, a four-time G1 winner on two continents, also was owned by U. Carrot Farm, an operation that never has shied from shipping top horses around the globe, including Grade 1 winner Chrysoberyl (JPN), who competed in the inaugural Saudi Cup; Japanese Derby winner Rey de Oro (JPN), a dual Dubai Sheema Classic alum; and Hong Kong Mile (G1) winner and subsequent USA sire Hat Trick (JPN).
U. Carrot’s colors were also worn by Cesario (JPN), who shipped over from Japan to become the most dominant winner in the history of the American Oaks (G1) in 2005 at Hollywood Park before producing U. Carrot stars Saturnalia (JPN) (G1 Japanese 2000 Guineas), Epiphaneia (JPN) (G1 Japan Cup) and Leontes (JPN) (G1 Asahi Hai Futurity). Its last venture to America ended disappointingly when their UAE Derby (G2) runner-up Epicharis (JPN) was a veterinarian scratch from the 2017 Belmont Stakes (G1) with an injured right front hoof. He was the 4-1 second choice on the morning line for the final leg of the Triple Crown.