JDD of 2014 by Kate Hunter


The JPN1 Japan Dirt Derby at Ohi Racecourse has been the highlight of the three-year-old dirt-racing calendar for 15 years as a group one that pits the best dirt horses from all over Japan, both NAR and JRA, against one another. This race has produced many champion racehorses and sires over the years. Gold Allure, one of the most profound dirt stallions by the great Sunday Silence, won the Japan Dirt Derby (JDD) in 2002. Two-time Japan Cup Dirt winner and freshman sire Kane Hikili won in 2005, and then four-time NAR Horse of the Year and Champion of his age group for seven consecutive years, Furioso captured the title in 2007. 

JDDは、これまで競馬界を代表する多くの競走馬や種牡馬を輩出してきました。2002年はダート種牡馬を代表する、サンデーサイレンス産駒ゴールドアリュール号が勝利し、2005年には、ジャパンカップダート(GⅠ:JRA)競走に2回優勝し、今年(2014年)のフレッシュマンサイヤー 1のカネヒキリ号が勝利しました。そして、2007年には、7年間の現役の間にNAR(地方競馬)年度代表馬に4回も輝き7年連続で最優秀牡馬を受賞したフリオーソ号が勝利しています。

Aside from being a champion showcase, the JDD (2000m) is also the last leg of the Minami Kanto (Tokyo and its surrounding prefectures) Triple Crown. As with any Triple Crown the world over, it is not an easy task. First it’s the Haneda Hai (1800m) in late April and then the Tokyo Derby (2000m) in early June. The first two legs are open to NAR registered horses only, while the last leg is open to all dirt horses including the JRA, making the triple crown that much more difficult to complete.


However, a Triple Crown winner might be on the horizon with the sensational Happy Sprint primed and ready to take the final leg. The 2013 NAR Champion Two Year Old dominated his NAR rivals in the Haneda Hai and the Tokyo Derby winning by a combined 9 lengths. The JDD won’t be the first time that this talented colt has run against JRA horses, as he claimed his champion status in the JPN1 Zen Nippon Nisai Yushun by defeating JRA rivals at Kawasaki Racetrack last December. Tsuji Bokujo transferred their homebred colt from Hokkaido trainer Jyunji Tanaka to Ohi trainer Jyunpei Morishita’s stable for his three-year-old season. As Happy Sprint is currently enjoying an eight race win streak, he will be the one to beat and will be enjoying a home field advantage.


There are plenty of JRA participants looking to spoil Happy Sprint’s week including Yutaka Take, one of Japan’s most famous riders of all time, who will be hoping to win a third consecutive NAR group race. For the past two weeks, he has won the NAR’s weekly headline group race, first with the JPN1 Teio Sho on June 25th and then the JPN3 Super King Lady Cup on July 2nd. He will be riding Meisho Powers (Meisho Bowler), who recently won the Tango Stakes in Kyoto. JPN2 Hyogo Championship runner-up, Runway Waltz (Gold Allure), will be piloted by leading JRA jockey Keita Tosaki. Tosaki is very familiar with Ohi as he was based there from 1998 through 2012 as a NAR jockey and was leading jockey from 2008 till 2012. This colt’s trainer, Hidetaka Otonashi, also won this race last year with Chrysolite, another son of Gold Allure. Kazenoko(Agnes Digital) and North Shore Beach(King Kamehameha) are two more colts coming into the race with very impressive runs in JRA stakes races over the past six weeks.


Happy Sprint has more to worry about than just top jockeys and JRA horses; he has other top horses from his own division to beat. Dubai Express (Durandal) is trained by perennially leading trainer Masayuki Kawashima, who won this race with the great Furioso in 2007 and again with Magnifica in 2010. Rounding out the field are several distinguished winners of other NAR Derbys from other prefectures in Japan. All Round (Personal Rush) is in the middle of a four-race win streak and traveled from Kochi to win the Kyushu Derby last month in Saga. K G Kinkame(King Kamehameha) is undefeated in six starts this year and traveled from his base in Kanazawa to win the Tokai Derby in Nagoya. Toko Gaia, by Gold Allure, is three for three this year, which includes a win in the Hyogo Derby at his home track in Sonoda.


Since 1964, there have only been seven Minami Kanto Triple Crown winners, including champion race mare Rosita in 1989 and Toshin Blizzard who in 2001 won the three Triple Crown races and also the JDD. In 2002, the JDD replaced the Tokyo Okan Sho as a jewel of the Triple Crown, since the change there has not been a winner in 12 years. If Happy Sprint wins like many think he can, a legend will be born.


1 フレッシュマンサイヤー

Kate Hunter(ケイト ハンター) 略歴
1983年 米国テネシー州生まれ
1997年 競馬に心惹かれる
1998年 日本に興味がわく
2001年 日本語の勉強を開始
2004年 早稲田大学に留学
2006年 米国インディアナ州アーラム大学日本研究学部卒業
2008年 日本の競馬ジャーナリストとなる
2013年 パカパカファーム入社
現在 パカパカファーム コミュニケーション・マネージャー就任