Orfevre storms Japanese Derby

Kyodo

Orfevre lived up to his billing as the top favorite Sunday, cruising to victory at a rain-lashed Tokyo Racecourse in the Japanese Derby, the second race in the Triple Crown series.

The three-year-old Yasutoshi Ikee-trained colt produced a devastating turn of pace with one-and-a-half furlongs left, holding off 10th favorite Win Variation to win in 2 minutes, 30.5 seconds.

Orefevre has won the first two Triple Crown races, having posted a three-length victory at last month’s Satsuki-sho.

Orfevre, by Stay Gold out of Oriental Art, earned ¥150 million for giving jockey Kenichi Ikezoe his first Japanese Derby win.

“This was a once in a lifetime chance for Orfevre and being the favorite it was quite tense,” said Ikezoe. “He found the going a little bit tough down the final straight but showed he has the heart for a battle.

“Since getting up this morning I have been feeling the weight of this race and for a long time I have wanted to win it with this horse,” said Ikezoe. “For the first time I want to brag about this to my father.”