Mont Saint Legame, a son of 2002 Kentucky Derby (G1) participant Came Home, became the first horse ever to earn Derby points in Japan when taking Saturday’s Cattleya Sho at Tokyo.
Sent off at 5-1 in the allowance over a metric mile, Mont Saint Legame stalked favorite Blanc Eclat (a Kentucky-bred son of Hansen) and swept to the fore in the stretch. Second choice Caucus (by 2007 Derby champion Street Sense) gave sustained chase, but couldn’t draw alongside the winner.
Mont Saint Legame held sway by 1 1/4 lengths while posting a final time of 1:37.80 on a track labeled muddy.
The chestnut banked 40 points on this inaugural “Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby.” Because this scoring system is separate from the 35-race “Road to the Kentucky Derby,” their point totals aren’t directly comparable. Those on the Japan Road have just two scoring races, with the second being the Hyacinth early next year. The top point-getter from these two races will earn a Derby berth as Japan’s representative.
Caucus earned 16 points for his runner-up effort, and raced like a horse who’d appreciate longer distances. Bred in Japan under Sheikh Mohammed’s Darley banner, he remains a promising prospect.
Blanc Eclat tired to third, good for eight points, and fourth-placer Lavapies received four points.
Mont Saint Legame is now unbeaten from two starts, having won his debut over this same track and trip October 9. Trained by Koji Maki for Shinichi Yamashita, he’s been ridden both times by Takuya Kowata.
Out of the winning Jade Robbery mare Julia Biko, Mont Saint Legame hails from one of the most prolific female lines in Japan, responsible for past dirt star Vermilion as well as champions Daiwa Major and Daiwa Scarlet.
Only time will tell if Mont Saint Legame will wind up at Churchill Downs like last year’s Cattleya Sho winner, Lani.
Photo courtesy of @keibaphoto_pane via Twitter