Yuji Hasegawa’s Perriere stamped his authority as the favorite in Sunday’s Hyacinth S. at Tokyo. Rolling late over the metric mile, the Triple Crown nominee earned 30 points to become the new leader on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby.

By Henny Hughes, the sire of U.S. Hall of Famer Beholder, Perriere was coming off a third in the Dec. 14 Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun at Kawasaki. But the Yoichi Kuroiwa trainee had won his two previous starts impressively. He defeated highly-regarded Yuttitham in an Aug. 27 newcomers’ race at Sapporo and captured a Nov. 12 allowance at Tokyo, where he kicked into high gear late. 
Bet down to 11-10 favoritism in this return to Tokyo, Perriere delivered a performance similar to his allowance. In the process, he handed retiring jockey Yuichi Fukunaga a poignant win in his final day of riding at a Japan Racing Association track. 
Perriere broke alertly from post 3 but eased back into fifth early as others scrambled for the lead. Sunday Funday was in front first, soon passed by Eclogite, who totally missed the break, then zoomed up on the outside to set the pace. Monde Plume attended Eclogite, and the two continued to spar into the stretch when longshot Z Lien advanced to join the fray.
By that point, Fukunaga had steered Perriere into the clear. Although he took a little while to pick up, once he did, the race was over. Perriere swept to a 1 1/2-length decision in a final time of 1:37.2, clocking a field-fastest final 600 meters (about three furlongs) in :36.4.
Z Lien, who is not an early Triple Crown nominee, was second-best by 3 1/2 lengths, good for 12 points. Triple Crown-nominated Eclogite came again on the rail to salvage third in a photo, picking up nine points. Fourth-placer Great Sand Sea (six points), not nominated, edged Goraiko (three points), who is nominated. 
Monde Plume weakened to seventh in the final yards, and Sunday Funday faded to 12th. Omatsuri Otoko, who had been runner-up in the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun, ran well below that level and beat only one home in 13th. 
Perriere is now 3-for-4 with a total of 36 points, including the six from the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun. Bred by Champions Farm in Japan, the bay colt is out of Soft Rime, by Fuji Kiseki, one of Sunday Silence’s champion sons. 
Interestingly, Perriere descends from the same family as Ski Captain, the first Japanese-based sophomore to try the Kentucky Derby in 1995. Ski Captain finished 14th behind Thunder Gulch. Might Perriere make his own bid for glory at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in May?

The Japan Road concludes with the Mar. 25 Fukuryu S. at Nakayama.