Rey de Oro thundered down the final stretch to win the Autumn Tenno-Sho at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday.
French jockey Christophe Lemaire guided the four-year-old colt, the second favorite, to the winner’s circle, and in so doing notched his third Grade 1 victory in three weeks.
After the first two turns, Rey de Oro took up position in the middle of the pack on the back stretch. As the early pace setter wilted at the third turn, Rey de Oro and Sungrazer began stalking the leaders on the last turn in preparation for the final stretch.
The two colts turned on the afterburners over the final 100 meters to pass Kiseki, which had led for most of the second half.
Rey de Oro crossed the finish line of the 2,000-meter race on turf in 1 minute, 56.8 seconds, one and a quarter lengths ahead of Sungrazer. Kiseki was third by a nose.
“I’m as happy as can be,” Lemaire said. “He had a perfect pace on the outside where there was no pressure, and he was able to run a relaxed race. He used his legs for long and did so well.”
The win was Lemaire’s first in the Autumn Tenno-Sho and his sixth G1 victory of the year, matching a Japan record. It was the Kamehameha-sired Rey de Oro’s second G1 win, following last year’s Japan Derby, and the sixth for trainer Kazuo Fujisawa.
The top favorite, Suave Richard, bumped another horse soon after coming out of the gate, never recovered and finished 10th.