The 79th running of the Grade 1 Satsuki Sho has attracted a fine field of 19 3YO headlined by Saturnalia.
With the start in the home-straight, runners must negotiate four corners throughout their run, making it a hard task and leaving very little room for error.
First favorites have been faring quite poorly, in a similar fashion to favorites in the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), and just two have won the first colts’ Classic in the last 10 years. The last one to do so was Logotype in 2013. Record time for the race is 1 minute, 57.8 seconds, set by Al Ain in 2017.
Here’s a look at some of the colts expected to be in the lineup:
Saturnalia: The well-bred colt is a half-brother to 2014 Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia and is out of dual Oaks winner Cesario. He remains unbeaten in three career starts and will be having his first run this year after having won the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at the end of last year over the course and distance of the Satsuki Sho.
Admire Mars: The Best 2-Year-Old Colt of 2018 lost his unbeaten record in his one race this year when he finished second to Danon Kingly in the Grade 3 Kyodo News Service Hai over 1,800 meters at Tokyo in February. His big race rider will be Mirco Demuro, who’s partnered him in all his races so far.
Danon Kingly: The Deep Impact colt is unbeaten in three starts, and jockey Keita Tosaki will be hoping he can give him another win in the race, having won last year on Epoca d’Oro. Danon Kingly has one win at Nakayama, and that was over 1,600 meters last December.
Velox: The colt has had a couple of easy wins so far this year, the latest in the Wakaba Stakes over 2,000 meters at Hanshin in March. Jockey Yuga Kawada has struck up a good partnership with the horse, who is by Just a Way, a winner of the Dubai Turf in 2014.
Satono Lux: Trainer Yasutoshi Ikee has already won one Grade 1 race this year with Al Ain in the Osaka Hai. The colt is by Deep Impact and was bred at Northern Farm, and he has the distinction of being the highest priced horse sold at the 2017 Select Sale. He’s coming off a win in the Listed Sumire Stakes over 2,200meters at Hanshin in February.
Meisho Tengen: Another Deep Impact colt, Meisho Tengen managed to improve on his fifth place in the Grade 3 Kisaragi Sho over 1,800 meters at Kyoto in February to go on and win the Grade 2 Hochi Hai Yayoi Sho over 2,000 meters at Nakayama on heavy ground. He’s trained by Kaneo Ikezoe.
Emeral Fight: Winner of his last two races, including the official Guineas trial, the Grade 2 Fuji TV Sho Spring Stakes most recently, the colt by Kurofune would seem suited to the Nakayama track.