Added to the Japanese Road to the Kentucky Derby for 2017-18, the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun made an instant impact after an impressive win by Le Vent Se Leve.
Starting favorite in a 14-horse field after two highly impressive wins from two starts, Le Vent Se Leve produced a stylish performance.
Out of the gate a little slow, Le Vent Se Leve circled the field around the final turn in similar fashion to his first start, and hit the lead at the top of the stretch. Though the previously unbeaten Don Fortis finished boldly, Le Vent Se Leve pulled away easily for jockey Mirco Demuro. His one length win margin could have been larger at the finish if Demuro asked for more.
Le Vent Se Leve is trained by Kiyoshi Hagiwara, the same man who trained last year’s Japanese Road to the Kentucky Derby winner Epicharis. Epicharis proved himself a contender on the international level with a close second in the UAE Derby before heading over to the United States for the Belmont Stakes, where he unfortunately could not start due to injury.
Le Vent Se Leve is by Symboli Kris S, the US-bred Japanese Horse of the Year in 2002 and 2003, whose best progeny include Japan Cup (G1) winner Epiphaneia and Success Brocken, a dirt specialist who won the February Stakes (G1) among seven wins between a mile and 1 ¼ miles.
Le Vent Se Leve’s dam is Maestrale, by the champion Japanese 3-year-old colt Neo Universe (Sunday Silence). A winner of four races in Japan, all on dirt at 1 1/8 miles, she is one of nine winners to date produced by Autumn Breeze, a mare by 1995 Preakness Stakes winner Timber Country.
Now equal-top on the Japanese road series with 10 points, Le Vent Se Leve looks like he will be hard to beat if he contests the final race of the series, the one-mile Hyacinth Stakes Feb. 18, and his pedigree suggests he should stay 1 ¼ miles.
Don Fortis put up a strong effort to finish second and he shouldn’t be forgotten about come the Hyacinth Stakes either. By Beholder’s sire Henny Hughes, he should also have enough stamina for 1 ¼ miles.
|9||Le Vent Se Leve|
|Le Vent Se Leve (JPN) 4-5|
|Don Fortis (JPN) 7-2|
|Haseno Pyro (JPN) 45-1|