Geoglyph (Drefong) wins the Satsuki Sho (Japanese Guineas 2000)
Fifth pick Geoglyph claimed the first leg of this year’s Triple Crown Classics, the Satsuki Sho (2000 Japanese Guineas), giving his sire Drefong, who has been a stud in Japan since 2018, his first JRA-G1 title.
After making his debut in June of last year, Geoglyph posted two straight wins including the Sapporo Nisai Stakes(G3) and capped off his two-year-old season with a fifth-place finish in the Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes(G1) in December. The colt had started the current season with a second place behind Danon Beluga in Kyodo News Hai (G3) on February 13.
Geoglyph trainer Tetsuya Kimura celebrates his first classic title and second JRA-G1 win after the 2018 Mile Championship with Stelvio. Jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, who took his most recent G1 title from him in this season’s February Stakes with Cafe Pharoah, now has 34 JRA-G1 titles under his belt. This is Satsuki Sho’s second title following his 2020 triumph with Triple Crown winner Contrail.
The race ran with Ask Victor More setting the pace and Geoglyph following in the footsteps of Equinox and in tandem with Danon Beluga at the midway point. Switching to an outside lane after turn three to make a smooth, strong wide attempt down the straight, the son of Drefong chased down and battled for the lead with Equinox in the final furlong, fading for a brief second but finding another gear to dig. he overtook his stable mate and gained a small lead near the finish to clear the wire by a length.
“His start was good and we were able to sit in an ideal position which was crucial to win today,” commented Yuichi Fukunaga after the race. “I already knew he was in good shape when I rode him during training and I was certain that even though the colt was the fifth pick, he was capable of winning today. The colt has the strength to keep up with him, so I geared him wide by throwing in an early bid before turn four. I’m glad I was able to do my job. In the next Derby, we’ll have to see if he can handle the extra 400m distance.”
Third pick and breaking from the widest spot, Equinox turned the first corner three wide around seventh and gradually worked his way up to enter the stretch in third place. The Kitasan Black colt stretched well to inherit the lead by passing the 200m pole but was challenged and eventually pinned by the eventual winner before the wire as he led the rest of the field by 1-1/4 lengths.
Race favorite Do Deuce broke up smoothly but booked second to third from behind and moved on after turn three to launch his attempt to enter the lane with the widest movement still near the rear. The colt Heart’s Cry under Yutaka Take unleashed a strong closing kick from there and, although with too much ground to make up, covered second seed Danon Beluga before third place.
4th: (1) Danon Beluga – Made an economical trip to the eventual winner around 5th place, bounced back briefly with the top two finishers, passed the lead as Do Deuce overtook him just before the wire.
5th: (2) Ask Victor More – Pace established, lead held to 200m pole, weakened in final 100m
6th: (11) Onyankopon – Sat 3 wide around 11th, sped on outside stretch, too late
7th: (6) Justin Rock—Positioned along the rails around 15th, responded well but never threatened
8th: (15) Lagulf—traveled 3 wide around 14th, passed tired rivals down the stretch
9th: (10) Justin Palace – Started off slowly, sat second from back, moved up gradually, even moved up by stretching
10: (8) Dante’s View: Settled at 7-8, lacked necessary kick in stretch
11: (13) Be Astonished – Sat 4th, showed brief effort, weakened last 100m
12: (17) Matenro Leo: followed behind, in a wide circle, showed a late charge
13: (4) Killer Ability—broke poorly, hugged the rails at 7-8, showed effort until 100m out
14: (7) Born This Way – Ground saved in 3rd, beaten in last 200m
15: (5) Grand Line: Ran around 13, unable to reach contention
16: (16) Desert—tracked leader in 2nd from a wide draw, ran out of steam down the stretch
17: (9) Satono Helios—set 3 wide at 7-8, nothing left down the stretch
18: (3) Tosen Vanno – traveled around 11, faded after 3rd corner