Kiyoshi Hagiwara trained 3YO won this year’s Champions Cup in record-tying speed of 1:50.1. Unbeaten Le Vent Se Leve is the fourth 3YO to claim the race.
Scoring three consecutive wins in his three starts as a two-year-old including the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun (dirt, 1,600m), the son of Symboli Kris S marked a runner-up effort in his first start of this season then won three successive races, the Unicorn Stakes (Gr.3, dirt, 1,600m), the Japan Dirt Derby (dirt, 2,000m) and the Mile Championship Nambu Hai (dirt, 1,600m), before coming into this race.
Breaking smoothly from stall two, odds-on-favorite Le Vent Se Leve was unusually positioned toward the front, second or third behind frontrunner Ange Desir. The three-year-old bay traveled along the rails up to the top of the homestretch then overtook the frontrunner from the outside 200 meters out where he accelerated powerfully with the second fastest late drive, pulling away from the rest of the field for a 2-1/2-length victory.
Westerlund broke well from stall 12 then eased back to travel in the very rear, 4-5 lengths behind the rest of the field. The six-year-old son of Neo Universe hugged the rails rounding the last two corners and slipped behind the eventual winner at the top of the stretch, waited for a clear path to present itself between Sunrise Soar and Ange Desir when he exerted an explosive late charge that timed the fastest last three furlongs while unable to match the winner in second..
Third pick Sunrise Soar traveled two wide in mid-division, around sixth from the front, made bid from the outside after turning the last corner wide and managed to nail Ange Desir 100 meters out but was overtaken by Westerlund in the last strides to finish third.
U.S.-trained Pavel broke sharply and then allowed to settle in fifth or sixth, held his position up to the last turn but failed to respond when asked after entering the stretch and faded to last.