September 21, 2017

Japanese runners Graceful Leap, London Town triumph in Korea Sprint, Cup

London Town, with jockey Yasunari Iwata aboard, wins the Korea Cup at Seoul Racecourse in Korea on Sunday, September 10, 2017 (c) Tomoya Moriuchi/Horsephotos.com

The Korea Sprint and Korea Cup, sponsored by Keeneland, turned into a Japanese double as Graceful Leap and London Town captured those respective contests during Sunday’s second edition of the Korean Autumn Racing Carnival at Seoul Racecourse.

The Korea Sprint featured a field of 15, including the Kenny McPeek-trained The Truth or Else, and was worth approximately $620,000.

Graceful Leap, with jockey Yutaka Take in the irons, wins the Korea Sprint at Seoul Racecourse in Korea on Sunday, September 10, 2017 (c) Tomoya Moriuchi/Horsephotos.com

Graceful Leap broke well under jockey Yutaka Take and quickly sprinted to the fore early. However, leading local contender Perdido Pomeroy shot over from his far outside post 15 to take command heading into the backstretch. Graceful Leap settled just off his flank while Zentenary raced in third.

Take gave Graceful Leap his cue, and the seven-year-old son of Gold Allure kicked into high gear. The chestnut overtook Perdido Pomeroy and drew off to be 1 3/4 lengths clear of the rallying Power Blade in second.

The Truth or Else found himself in last down the backstretch and began closing on the outside rounding the turn. The Yes It’s True five-year-old closed fast down the center of the track, reputing himself well by finishing fourth while beaten only a half-length for third.

Graceful Leap, trained by Shinsuke Hashiguchi for Shinji Maeda, finished the six-furlong sprint in 1:10.7.

One race later, Chrysolite sought a title defense in the Korea Cup while giving Yutaka Take a sweep of the two races. However, compatriot London Town, drawn widest of all to Chrysolite’s outside in the 11 post, had something to say about that.

London Town shot out of the gate and straight to the fore, grabbing control and angling over to the inside entering the first turn. Chrysolite wasn’t far behind and French invader Skiperia tracked just off the flank of last year’s winner. The Linda Rice-trained Papa Shot and Circuit Land followed to complete the first flight of runners.

London Town continued pacesetting duties on the backstretch racing well off the rail. He began opening up on the field rounding the final turn with Chrysolite struggling to keep up. Jockey Yasunari Iwata was still sitting chilly on London Town as Take went to the whip on Chrysolite.

Iwata finally got busy on London Town in midstretch and the four-year-old son of Kane Hekili drew off, finishing four lengths in front of Chrysolite on the wire.

Papa Shot proved best of the rest, 17 lengths behind the runner-up but three parts of a length better than Triple Nine in fourth. Like The Truth or Else in the Korea Sprint, he was ridden by Dylan Davis.

Campaigned by Toru Makiura, London Town stopped the clock for the nine-furlong Korea Cup in 1:50.7 for trainer Kazuya Makita.

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