Tokyo Racecourse: Spot plays for NHK Mile Cup day

Profile Picture: J. Keeler Johnson

May 9th, 2020

The spring racing season continues in Japan on Sunday with a dozen races at Tokyo Racecourse, including the NHK Mile Cup (G1) and Brilliant S.

Both races have drawn large, competitive fields with plenty of wagering opportunities. If you’re searching for evening/early morning entertainment, these spot plays will give you a potentially lucrative rooting interest in the action:

Race 10: Brilliant S. (2:00 a.m. ET)

The stretch-running #16 Master Fencer performed admirably in the U.S. last year, finishing sixth in the Kentucky Derby (G1) and fifth in the Belmont Stakes (G1) while facing tough competition. He’s been even more effective since returning to his homeland, going two-for-three in allowance company while repeatedly demonstrating a strong stretch kick.

On Feb. 22, Master Fencer dominated a 2,100-meter allowance race at Tokyo, sprinting home the final 600 meters in :37.50 to win by 2 1/2 lengths. None of his rivals came home faster than :38.10, a testament to the strength of Master Fencer’s finish, and he’ll stick to the same track and distance while stepping up slightly in class for the Brilliant S.

Master Fencer’s stiffest competition may come from #4 Ailes du Courage. A two-time allowance winner running 2,100 meters at Tokyo last season, Ailes du Courage has a bit more tactical speed than Master Fencer, coupled with the ability to finish strongly down the lane. After coming home sixth in the 1,900-meter Aldebaran S. to kick off 2020, Ailes du Courage will stretch back out in distance and regain the services of three-time champion jockey Christophe Lemaire, who guided Ailes du Courage to his two victories last season.

We’ll box Master Fencer and Ailes du Courage in the exacta:

$10 Exacta Box: 4.16 ($20)

Race 11: NHK Mile Cup (G1, 2:40 a.m. ET)

A full field of 18 sophomore colts and fillies will line up to contest this 1,600-meter Group 1 test, with #2 Taisei Vision the early favorite in the wagering. Winner of the 1,400-meter Keio Hai Nisai (G2) at Tokyo as a juvenile, Taisei Vision wrapped up his 2-year-old season with a runner-up effort in the 1,600-meter Asahi Hai Futurity (G1), beaten only by the future classic-placed miler Salios.

Taisei Vision recently returned to action with a decisive score in the 1,600-meter Arlington Cup (G3), in which he sprinted the final 600 meters in a quick :36.20 over a damp course to dominate by two lengths. Taisei Vision can certainly vie for victory on Sunday, but I prefer the chances of the filly #3 Resistencia.

A daughter of Daiwa Major, who has sired three winners of the NHK Mile Cup, Resistencia demonstrated a high level form as a 2-year-old. She went three-for-three last season, most notably crushing the 1,600-meter Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1) by five lengths in the blazing time of 1:32.70, breaking the juvenile course record.

A speedy front-runner, Resietencia has been beaten in her first two starts of 2020, but on Apr. 12 she missed by just 1 1/2 lengths in the 1,600-meter Oka Sho (G1), finishing second after pressing fast fractions over a yielding turf course. She can rebound on Sunday while picking up the services of Christophe Lemaire.

Let’s bet Resistencia to win and box her in the exacta with Taisei Vision:

$15 to Win on #3 Resistencia
$5 Exacta Box: 2,3 ($10)

Good luck!

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