Toyoake, Aichi Prefecture – Ninth-pick Mozu Superflare claimed her maiden Grade 1 victory on Sunday at the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, the first top-tier race in Japan to be held behind closed doors, due to the new coronavirus pandemic.
Ridden by jockey Fuma Matsuwaka, Mozu Superflare finished the 1,200-meter race at Chukyo Racecourse, near Nagoya, in 1 minute, 8.7 seconds, beating second-pick Gran Alegria by a nose. Fourth-pick Diatonic was third by a head behind Gran Alegria.
Fifteenth-favorite Kurino Gaudi came from behind in the final dash to cross the line first, but was placed fourth after video reviews showed the horse blocking the paths of Mozu Superflare and Gran Alegria.
In response to the coronavirus outbreak, the Japan Racing Association has been holding its races without spectators since the end of February.
American-bred Mozu Superflare finished 15th at last year's Takamatsunomiya Kinen and was runner-up at the Sprinters Stakes in September. The victory was also the first Grade 1 title for Matsuwaka, who debuted in 2014.
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