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Do Deuce, Reunited with Yutaka Take, Wins Arima Kinen

It was almost as if Do Deuce was waiting for Yutaka Take to jump back aboard.

Reunited with the long-time Japanese superstar, Do Deuce ended a three-race string of frustration with a sweeping, off-the-pace victory at Nakayama Racecourse Dec. 24 in the Arima Kinen (G1), the final top-level race on the Japanese calendar for older horses.

The win came over a quality field with eight grade 1 or group 1 winners. The contenders included the winners of the last three runnings of the Yushun Himba (Japanese Derby-G1) and horses who had represented Japan around the globe.

Do Deuce, a 4-year-old son of Heart’s Cry , got the job done while paying attention to his rider. After breaking near the back of the 16-horse field, Take was able to take a relaxed position outside rivals and bided his time as Titleholder  took a commanding early lead.

Nearing the turn, Do Deuce quickly closed ranks. Shadowed by Stars On Earth, he swept by Titleholder some 100 meters from the finish and those two finished in that order with Titleholder holding third, a desperate head in front of the race favorite, Justin Palace.

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“The colt was a bit keen and I had to keep him in hand and maintain a good rhythm and not let him rush,” Take said “I gave him the go from about 700 meters out. His response was very good rounding the last corner and he gave a terrific late charge to the wire.”

Do Deuce won his first start of 2023, the Kyoto Kinen (G2), partnered with Take. Then came the tough stretch, starting with a late scratch from the Dubai Turf (G1T) in March with a lame left foreleg.

After the colt was given time to recover, it was Take who was out with an injury for the colt’s next two starts, according to Japan Racing Association race charts, and Do Deuce finished seventh in the Tenno Sho (Autumn) (G1) and fourth in the Japan Cup (G1).

“It’s great to come back with Do Deuce and win this race against some really strong opponents,” Take said. “We did have our struggles after winning the Kyoto Kinen early this year. But I was determined to show his true strength and prove what he was really made of in this big race.”

Do Deuce, bred by Northern Farm, is out of the Vindication  mare Dust and Diamonds . Trained by Yasuo Tomomichi, he races in the gray and white checkered silks of Kieffers Co. Ltd.

While the Arima Kinen has been the swan song for such stars as Orfevre , Gentildonna  and Kitasan Black , Tomomichi indicated Do Deuce is intended to carry on, likely getting another opportunity to make his mark on the international scene.

The Arima Kinen, also known as the Grand Prix, offers Japanese fans a chance to vote on which horses they want in the field. This year, to no surprise, the top picks were the world’s top-rated horse, Equinox , and super filly Liberty Island, who finished second to Equinox in the Japan Cup.

With Equinox retired and 3-year-old Liberty Island starting a break, Do Deuce was No. 7 in the fans’ poll, with Justin Palace third and Titleholder fourth.

Shahryar , third in the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1T) at Santa Anita Park and a late scratch from the Dec. 11 Hong Kong Vase (G1), raced evenly to finish fifth in the Arima Kinen. Through Seven Seas was third choice in the enthusiastic wagering on the back of her impressive fourth-place finish in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) but faded late to report 12th.

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