Make Happy dominant, Romantico one to watch in Cattleya Sho

Profile Picture:

TwinSpires Staff

November 26th, 2018

The Cattleya Sho was run on Saturday at Tokyo Racecourse for two-year-olds going 1,600 meters (about one mile) on the dirt. It is a left-handed race around one turn and is part of the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby with points being awarded on a 10-4-2-1 basis. Dirt racing in Japan is conducted on deep tracks and it is not surprising if the final time is rather slow. Last year’s winner, Ruggero took 1:38.20. Because of the depth of the dirt track, there is tremendous kickback into the faces of the horses running behind so it pays to be near the front or rally on the outside. You don’t want to be on the inside behind horses, especially with young, rather inexperienced horses. The Japanese betting public made MAKE HAPPY the heavy 4/10 favorite despite breaking from post 14. In fact, only one other horse went off at single-digit odds in the field of 14. The California-bred daughter of Square Eddie broke her maiden on a wet track in her well-bet career debut last month at Tokyo and was heavily backed. Second choice in the wagering at 3.9/10 was ROMANTICO, a son of Empire Maker who broke his maiden by seven lengths on a muddy track last out at 1/10 odds. In Japan, there was only one kilogram (2.2 pounds) difference between juvenile colts and fillies but it could have been five kilograms and it would not have mattered. Christophe Lemaire broke Make Happy well but then was content to settle in the middle of the pack but always in contact on the outside. Willing to sacrifice ground instead of racing behind the pacemakers, Lemaire had her at least four wide turning for home but had not moved a muscle. When he asked her to go, the response was immediate as she ran down the two pacemakers and pulled away to a 2 1/2-length victory in 1:38.3 seconds. KINGEN rallied for second and JOHANN held on for third. The horse that finished best of all was ROMANTICO. He tried to sneak up the inside leaving the backstretch but had to idle while stuck in traffic. He had to drop back to find running room on the outside but once it was there, he finished full of run. With his American dirt pedigree, he will certainly bear watching. Make Happy is a full sister to Ralis who won the Hopeful S. (G1) at two. The daughter of Square Eddie was purchased by Kazuko Yoshida for $650,000 this past March at Fasig-Tipton and is trained by Koichi Shinkai. Her connections said after the race that she could be pointed for the Kentucky Oaks (G1) on the first Friday in May at Churchill Downs. Look for Romantico to come to the fore in the next three races on the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby as the points go up each time. (Photo by Katsumi Saito)