FUNABASHI, CHIBA PREF. - Jockey Kenichi Ikezoe steered third-favorite Blast Onepiece to the horse’s first Grade 1 title at the Arima Kinen on Sunday.
Blast Onepiece, a three-year-old colt and the youngest entry in the race, crossed the line in 2 minutes, 32.2 seconds, beating fan-favorite Rey de Oro, ridden by Christophe Lemaire, by a neck. Blast Onepiece claimed the ¥300 million ($2.7 million) prize money for the 2,500-meter race at Nakayama Racecourse.
“I’ve been telling people that this horse has what it takes to win a Grade 1 title so I’m glad I was able to prove that,” said Ikezoe, who picked up his fourth Arima Kinen victory.
Blast Onepiece was in the middle of the pack for much of the race, which was led by second-pick Kiseki most of the way. But Ikezoe’s horse sprinted around the pack on the outside after the final bend.
“The horse in front of us was very persistent, and I knew (Rey de) Oro was right behind us, so I thought it was the right moment to make the final dash,” Ikezoe said. “I was cheering for the horse inside my head. It feels amazing.”
Kiseki finished fifth, behind Cheval Grand and Mikki Rocket.