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Espoir City (JPN): 2009 Japan Cup Dirt

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One of the bigger "mystery" horses at this year's Breeders' Cup is the invader from Japan, Espoir City (JPN), a horse that many of us know very little about but one that could have a big impact on how the Classic is run, at least in the early stages.

Over at the Japan Racing Association's website  you can view a replay of Espoir City's victory in the 2009 Japan Cup Dirt.  It's pretty clear from watching that race that this colt wants to run up front with the leaders in the early stages of the race.  The American entry, Tizway, vied with Espoir City for the lead for about the first half furlong but gaveway to the winner as the field made their way onto the first turn.  From that point forward, Espoir City led every step of the way around the track en route to what looked like an easy victory..

2009 Japan Cup Dirt Video (from Japan Racing Association).

According to the Official Chart, Espoir City ran the 1 1/8 mile distance in 1:49.9 with the following elapsed and internal fractions:

1/4

1/2

3/4

Mile

Final

23.6

25.2

24.0

24.2

12.9

23.6

48.8

1:12.8

1:37.0

1:49.9

 

 

 

 


I don't know if those numbers are considered fast or slow for Japanese racing or racing at Hanshin Racecourse, the sight of the 09 Japan Cup Dirt (they seem moderate, at best, based on our standards).  Regardless of the relative quickness of the fractions, the fact that Espoir City is a horse that likes to use his speed in the early part of a race is something to keep in mind when handicapping this year's Breeders' Cup Classic.