Espoir City claims Japan Cup Dirt

TAKARAZUKA, Kyoto Pref. (Kyodo) Top favorite Espoir City coasted to a stunning victory Sunday to capture his first Grade One title at the Japan Cup Dirt.

Espoir City burst through the middle of the pack and powered down the home stretch at Hanshin Racecourse to finish 3 1/2 lengths ahead of Silk Mobius. Golden Ticket came in third.

The 4-year-old colt, ridden by jockey Tetsuzo Sato, covered the 1,800-meter dirt track in 1 minute, 49.9 seconds to earn ¥130 million in prize money.

“I had confidence in racing after being picked as the top favorite,” said Sato. “I had always wanted to win a Grade One race. I am so happy that it brings tears to my eyes.”