THE PRESTIGIOUS Grade 1 Arima Kinen, over an extended 1m4f at Nakayama and final top flight JRA (Japan Racing Association) contest of 2020 in Japan, is often described locally as the ‘Grand Prix’. The majority of the field is determined by a fans’ poll, this time only available online, choosing ten of the runners, with the rest determined in order of their prize money earnings.
A massive 214,742 votes were cast and hot favourite, both in terms of votes and with the betting public, Chrono Genesis did not disappoint her army of followers, registering her third top flight success in the process. At the time a 4yo, the daughter of Bago became just the second filly to win both ‘Grand Prix’ contests having landed the Takarazuka Kinen in June.
Fifteen horses in total have won both, 11 achieving the feat in the same year. Following on from Lys Gracieux last year, it was also the first time in 60 years that the race has been won in consecutive years by a filly or mare. It was also a record ninth top table success for the ‘fairer sex’ in races open to both sexes. It was also a record fifth Arima Kinen title for the owners, Sunday Racing and their ninth in 2020, also an unprecedented achievement.
For both trainer Takashi Saito and jockey Yuichi Kitamura, this was a first Grade One title since their Takarazuka Kinen win with the same filly, and fourth and fifth overall, respectively. The 16 runners broke smartly with Babbitt taking the early lead, Authority and Blast Onepiece stalking the pace while Chrono Genesis settled way behind, around fifth from the rear.
The striking grey filly made a positive move, making headway in the middle of the back straight and moved up behind the leaders, entering the straight in third. After immediately picking off the tired pacesetter, Chrono Genesis tagged Fierement inside the final furlong and battled stride for stride through the closing stages until the filly finally wore down the second favourite while holding off the final challenge of eventual runner-up, Salacia, to prevail by a neck.
“All I wanted was her to be relaxed and her break wasn’t that bad, she was in hand and ran in the same rhythm as before,” winning jockey Yuichi Kitamura said. “We haven’t faced the two Triple Crown winners yet, but I hope she performs well and stays in the spotlight next season.”
Trainer Saito added: “She was in good form and gave us a great impression before the race. I was worried that Yuichi might have made a too early bid, but he was confident and rode her beautifully, holding off the others. This is a dream come true and I have a feeling there will be many more.”