• Kyodo

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Top favorite Contrail remained on track to win the Japanese triple crown this year after blowing past the field in the 87th running of the Japanese Derby on Sunday.

The colt, with jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, got off to a fast start and stalked the leaders from a few lengths back until the final turn over 2,400 meters on the turf at Tokyo Racecourse.

"This horse's talent is bottomless," Fukunaga said. "His potential is high. Contrail has joined the ranks of elite horses."

With 200 meters to go, Contrail burst past the leaders and opened up a huge lead before sailing across the finish line in 2 minutes, 24.1 seconds. It was the third Grade 1 win for Contrail, who is unbeaten in five career races.

Salios, the second-favorite, crossed three lengths back to finish runner-up, as he did in the first leg of the triple crown for 3-year-olds, April's Satsuki-sho. Weltreisende was third a further 1 3/4 lengths behind.

Fukunaga's second win in the race, also known as the Tokyo Yushun, took place behind closed doors as all of Japan's races have since the end of February in an effort to stem the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The final leg, the 3,000-meter Kikka-sho, will take place in October at Kyoto Racecourse. There, Contrail will aim to become Japan's eighth triple crown winner and first since Orfevre in 2011.

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