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Norihiro Yokoyama Rides Danon Decile to Tokyo Yushun Victory

Yokoyama became the oldest jockey to win a JRA G1 race at age 56 with ninth pick Danon Decile's two-length triumph over Tokyo Yushun favorite Justin Milano.

Jockey Norihiro Yokoyama earned a record-breaking victory aboard ninth pick Danon Decile in the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) on Sunday, May 26 at Tokyo Racecourse.

In doing so, Yokoyama became the Japan Racing Association's oldest Grade 1-winning jockey at the age of 56.

Epiphaneia progeny Danon Decile secured a two-length win in the 91st running of the Tokyo Yushun over first favorite Justin Milano (Keita Tosaki's ride).

Yokoyama previously won the race in 2009 with Logi Universe and in 2014 with One and Only. He's now won 28 JRA G1 races.

Six-time Tokyo Yushun winner Yutaka Take, 55, held the oldest-jockey record before Yokoyama rewrote it on Sunday before a crowd of 78,678.

Trainer Shogo Yasuda, who opened his yard in 2018, claimed his 10th grade-race victory and first JRA G1 title.

Danon Decile avenged his exclusion from running in the first leg of the Triple Crown, the Satsuki Sho (Japanese 2000 Guineas), on April 14 just before the race due to lameness in his right foreleg. 

Tokyo Yushun
Danon Decile, with Norihiro Yokoyama holding the reins, owns a sizable lead late in the race. (©SANKEI)

Tokyo Yushun
Another view of Danon Decile's commanding position in the 91st Tokyo Yushun. (©SANKEI)

How Danon Decile Secured the Tokyo Yushun Victory

Breaking sharply from gate five, Danon Decile rushed out to the front. Then he eased back to settle between third and fourth and behind frontrunner Ecoro Walz, who set a slow pace. 

The son of Epiphaneia saved ground along the rails while eyeing the race favorite on the outside.

Danon Decile continued to take an economic trip, rounding the final corners. He broke loose from the pack through an inside opening to pull away with a powerful drive for a two-length win. (Watch the full race on the JRA's YouTube channel.)

Tokyo Yushun
Winning jockey Norihiro Yokoyama (©SANKEI)

Yokoyama Reacts to Win Aboard Danon Decile

"I thought that the pace would be normal or slow since there were no horses that wanted to set the pace," said Yokoyama. "But as Ecoro Walz took the front, we were able to wait in a good position until the straight, and the horse responded strongly from there."

Yokoyama was one of seven former Japanese Derby winners in the 17-horse race. The others: Take (a six-time winner), Mirco Demuro (twice), Christophe Lemaire, Yuga Kawada, Kenichi Ikezoe and Yasunari Iwata.

Suguru Hamanaka, the 2019 winner of the Tokyo Yushun, was scheduled to ride Meisho Tabaru, who was scratched. That reduced the field to 17 entrants.

Yokoyama added, "I'm happy to have won the Derby but I'm also glad that my decision to not race him in the Satsuki Sho was not wrong. Danon Decile is a horse with great potential, and we knew that he would be a great horse if we took good care of him. I'm really grateful to the horse."

Tokyo Yushun
Horses jockey for position in the 91st Tokyo Yushun. (©SANKEI)

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Justin Milano Recovers From a Slow Start

After missing his break from an outside draw, Justin Milano quickly recovered and settled third-to-fourth from the front. 

Though meeting traffic entering the lane, the son of Kizuna steered slightly to the outside for an open space and pulled away from the pack 200 meters out. But Justin Milano was unable to catch up with Danon Decile's closing speed (33.5 seconds over the final three furlongs) and finished second. 

Off a little slow, seventh pick Shin Emperor, ridden by 2024 Kentucky Derby participant Ryusei Sakai, advanced to settle in seventh. He dropped position turning the last corners and though checked 300 meters out, showed an impressive turn of foot to close in on the leaders. 

While failing to threaten the top finishers, the Siyouni-sired Shin Emperor secured third place by 1¼ lengths.

Fifteenth pick Sunrise Earth (Ikezoe) placed fourth, followed by second favorite Regaleira (Lemaire) by a nose over the sixth-place finisher, Cosmo Kuranda (Demuro).

Take had to settle for seventh aboard Sugar Kun.

Tokyo Yushun
The Tokyo Yushun is a 2,400-meter test of speed and endurance. (©SANKEI)

Japanese Derby Notes on Danon Decile

Debuting in October 2023, the son of Epiphaneia broke his maiden in his next start and capped off his 2-year-old season with a fourth-place finish in the Kyoto Nisai Stakes (G3, 2,000 meters). He commenced the current season with his first graded victory in the Keisei Hai (G3, 2,000 meters) on January 14.

A Look Ahead

The next G1 race on the JRA's 2024 calendar is the Yasuda Kinen on June 2 at Tokyo Racecourse.

Read the full report with details on each of the Tokyo Yushun entrants on JRA News.


Author: JRA News


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