Deep Impact — it was a movie; it was a NASA mission; it’s a super colt poised to make history this weekend in Kyoto when he makes his bid for the Triple Crown.

News photoDeep Impact, with jockey Yutaka Take up, will try to become the sixth horse to win Japan’s Triple Crown when he races in the Kikkasho at Kyoto Racecourse on Sunday.

The son of American champion Sunday Silence claimed the first two legs of Japan’s Triple Crown, the Satsukisho and the Nippon Derby, by 2 1/2 lengths and five, and he has yet to know defeat in his six races to date.

If Deep Impact bests the field in the Kikkasho on Sunday — and nearly an entire nation believes he will — the slightly built colt with an apparent urge to fly will be only the second to capture the classic three undefeated.

A triple crown win in any country is a tremendous feat, whether the series spans merely a couple months, as in the U.S., or most of the year, as in England and Japan.

The creme de la creme of the year’s three-year-old crop vie for some of the biggest purses and surely three of the most esteemed races a country has to offer.

Few colts or fillies even get to run in one of the races, let alone all three.

Injuries, a lack of earnings, or lack of ability keep most from the prestigious ranks of a classic race.

Fewer yet ever get to win one of the once-in-a-lifetime classics. In Japan, five have won all three.

Saint Lite in 1941, Shinzan in 1964, Mister C.B. in 1983, Symboli Rudolf in 1984 and Narita Brian in 1994.

Those are the hallowed five and Deep Impact may make it six after what is expected to be but a 3,000-meter, twice-around-the-turf romp for him Sunday.

Calling him “unbeatable in Japan,” the “best horse ever seen” from this country.

It’s high praise, but Deep Impact’s effortless switch into high gear for a rocket-like finish is akin to watching a magic show — or a miracle.

They say no one’s going to catch him, but the Kikkasho (Chrysanthemum Prize) tussle for second place will be fierce.

Standouts in what is expected to be an all-male full gate of 18 are Six Sense and Rosenkreuz, also both by Sunday Silence.

Six Sense was second in the Satsukisho and Deep Impact’s most recent race, the Sept. 25 Kobe Shimbun Hai. Six Sense finished third in the Derby. Rosenkreuz placed third in the Kobe Shimbun Hai.

Admire Japan (third in the Satsukisho) and Admire Fuji (fourth in the Derby) are getting some good reviews as well, as are Fusaichi Auster (second in the 2,200-meter G2 St. Lite Kinen Sept. 18) and Pisa no Patek (third in the St. Lite).

Post time is 3:40 p.m. this Sunday at Kyoto Racecourse (nearest station is Yodo on the Keihan Honsen).

Take a three-minute break to watch what not only may be one of racing’s golden moments, but what is assuredly one of the best horses Japan has ever laid eyes on — Deep Impact.

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