KYOTO - Favorite Satono Diamond sprung to claim the last race of the Japanese triple crown on Sunday, clocking 3 minutes, 3.3 seconds to capture the Kikka-sho by 2½ lengths over 3,000 meters at Kyoto Racecource.
The 3-year-old colt deliberately moved up through the field, moved outside on the home turn and caught up with the leaders before finding an extra gear down the stretch to overtake them. He finished with sizeable gap on runner-up and ninth-favorite Rainbow Line.
Sixth favorite Air Spinel was third by a nose, and second choice De Majesty, the Satsuki-sho champion, settled for fourth.
“I won a classic race title for the first time,” said jockey Christophe Lemaire. “His (Satono Diamond’s) condition was different from spring when he was immature and I rode with confidence. He really responded on the home stretch.”