January 22, 2018

Le Vent Se Leve overcomes slow start to win Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun in hand

Le Vent Se Leve burnished his Kentucky Derby credentials while remaining perfect in the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun at Kawasaki

Le Vent Se Leve did not disappoint as the favorite in Wednesday’s Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun at Kawasaki, remaining unbeaten with a one-length victory in the Japan Road to the 2018 Kentucky Derby series qualifier. The one-mile race (1600 meters) awarded a total of 17 points to the top four finishers (10-4-2-1) and Le Vent Se Leve confirmed himself as a leading prospect from his homeland.

By Symboli Kris S., Le Vent Se Leve is trained by Kiyoshi Hagiwara. Mirco Demuro rides the soon-to-be 3-year-old colt, who opened his racing career with a pair of impressive wins including a juvenile track record-setting performance under allowance conditions.

All did not go well at the start of his stakes debut Wednesday. Le Vent Se Leve broke a step slowly from post 9 and was bumped by a mini-chain reaction to his inside, winding up last of 13 runners a few jumps out of the gate.

After traveling wide from well off the pace, he launched an eye-catching rally into contention rounding the far turn and entered the straightaway full of steam while racing out toward the middle of the track. Demuro guided his mount several paths toward the rail and Le Vent Se Leve overhauled pacesetter Southern Vigorous by midstretch, quickly accelerating clear for the latter stages.

Don Fortis, the third choice in the wagering, closed fast to belatedly reduce the final margin but Le Vent Se Leve wasn’t seriously threatened winning comfortably. The runner-up wound up three lengths clear Haseno Pyro in third and Dark Repulser came next in fourth.

Le Vent Se Leve’s sire was a two-time Japanese Horse of the Year and he hails from a daughter of Japanese champion Neo Universe, a son of famed sire and 1989 Kentucky Derby and Preakness winner Sunday Silence.

The Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun is the second of three Kentucky Derby qualifiers in Japan, with February’s Hyacinth at Tokyo concluding the series. The finale is worth a combined 51 points (30-12-6-3).

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