Lord Kanaloa completes hat trick

Kyodo

Hong Kong Sprint and Sprinters Stakes champion Lord Kanaloa won the Takamatsunomiya Kinen in dominant fashion Sunday, becoming the first Japanese horse to capture three Grade 1 sprint titles.

The 5-year-old Lord Kanaloa went off as the overwhelming favorite in a field of 17 at Chukyo Racecourse, where he shattered the course record to win in 1 minute, 8.1 seconds over the 1,200 meters on firm going.

Second choice favorite Dream Valentino came in second a length and a quarter behind. Pacesetter and long-shot Hakusan Moon was third.

The Takayuki Yasuda-trained Lord Kanaloa now has an impressive 10 wins in 15 starts, never having finished under third in his career.

“I’m convinced he’s No. 1 in the world, not just in Japan,” jockey Yasunari Iwata said of his mount, who also became the first Japanese horse to win the Hong Kong Sprint in December.

“We’re in a position where we’re not allowed to lose anymore. I’m just trying to savor each and every race I have with him,” he said.