Japan-based Crown Pride won the UAE Derby before finishing 13th in this year’s Kentucky Derby
The Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby will begin at 12:15 am (ET) Saturday at Tokyo Racecourse where Yuji Hasegawa’s maiden winner Plavi is the 5-2 favorite against nine Japanese-breds in the $220,325 Cattleya Stakes.
The Cattleya, run at about one mile, will award the top five finishers points on a 10-4-3-2-1 scale for the stand-alone Japan Road to the Kentucky.
Trained by Haruki Sugiyama, Plavi broke his maiden Oct. 1 at Chukyo Racecourse, located about four hours west of Tokyo. The chestnut son of Duramente will be ridden in the Cattleya by Keita Tosaki from post No. 2
Several horses that entered the Cattleya have breeding familiar to many North Americans. There are two sons of 2018 Lukas Classic ((G3) winner Mind Your Biscuits: Mirror of Mind (5-1) and Toa Raiden (11-1).
The Cattleya will go as Race 9 of 12 prior to the featured Capital Stakes in Race 11. Sunday’s card at Tokyo features the Grade I Japan Cup worth a purse of approximately $5.5 million.
There have been four horses based in Japan that have run in the Kentucky Derby: Ski Captain (14th, 1995); Last year (9th, 2016); Master Fencer (6th, 2019), and Crown Pride (13th, 2022).