The second leg of the Japanese Triple Crown has been claimed by Wagnerian, who closed out a steady effort with a heroic performance down the homestretch to devour a gap that seemed to be a rift too far for some. The 2018 Tokyo Yushun winner is the son of Deep Impact, who scored in the 2005 renewal for owner and breeder Kaneko Makato Holdings. This is the fourth victory for the group, who now own the record.
“The staff did a terrific job in preparing the colt, and he just gave his best,” winning jockey Yiuchi Fukunaga said. “I just drove him feverishly to the line. I’ve won grade 1 races in Tokyo before, but to win the Derby is totally a different story. I was beginning to have doubts after having so many chances, but thanks to the support of my family and so many others, I’m thrilled to have won at last.”
The 2018 Tokyo Yushun is the second chapter of the trilogy that form the Japanese Triple Crown along with the Shatsuki Sho and the Kikuka Sho. The winner of the Sthatsuki Sho was Epoco d’Oro, who valiantly fought to regain second place amidst a densely knit pack of rivals who fought hard down the backstretch. Unlike the American Classics, the Japanese editions get longer with each race. The Shatsuki Sho is 1 1/4 miles, the 2018 Tokyo Yushun is 1 1/2 miles and the final installment is a whopping 1 7/8 miles.
Wagnerian was the odds on favorite heading in to the Shatsuki Sho, but encountered an unusually soft tread that didn’t suit his running style. He would finish a disappointing seventh. With optimal conditions in the 2018 Tokyo Yushun, the three-year-old was able to show off his championship level stuff. He is now 3-1-0 in five starts with $2,811,553 USD (306,141,000 JPN) in career earnings.
The final leg of the Japan Triple Crown will take place on October 21st, 2018 out of Kyoto Racecourse.