February 22, 2024

Chrono Genesis repeats in Breeders’ Cup WAYI Takarazuka Kinen

Chrono Genesis made history by winning the Takarazuka Kinen again (Copyright Japan Racing Association)

Last seen missing narrowly to Mishriff in the March 27 Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) on World Cup night, Chrono Genesis successfully defended her title in Sunday’s Takarazuka Kinen (G1) at Hanshin. The about 1 3/8-mile feature serves as a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), as well as offering an automatic berth to Australia’s Cox Plate (G1). Connections are reportedly focused on France, however, for a tilt at the elusive Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) – and a possible rematch with Mishriff.

A daughter of 2004 Arc hero Bago, Chrono Genesis became only the second horse to score a repeat in the 62-year history of the Takarazuka Kinen. The precedent was set by the mercurial Gold Ship (2013-14), so Chrono Genesis is the first female to achieve the feat.

Trained by Takashi Saito for Sunday Racing Co., Chrono Genesis was well placed by Christophe Lemaire who was subbing for the injured Yuichi Kitamura. He settled the 4-5 favorite just a few lengths off pacesetting Unicorn Lion. Lei Papale, the 5-2 second choice after remaining unbeaten in the Osaka Hai (G1), stalked in second until the stretch when she accosted the 26-1 Unicorn Lion.

Then Chrono Genesis quickened to mow them down by a handy 2 1/2 lengths. Delivering a field-best final three furlongs in :34.4, the gray clocked 2:10.9 on the good-to-firm course. That time was only 0.8 away from the course and stakes record set by Earnestly in 2011.

Unicorn Lion fended off Lei Papale by a neck for runner-up honors, and prevented an all-female sweep of the placings. Lei Papale might have flattened out a bit in her first try beyond about 1 1/4 miles, but she still posted a final sectional of :35.

Another distaffer, Curren Bouquetd’or, checked in fourth. Next came the veteran Kiseki, who had been second in the past two runnings; Miss Mamma Mia and Cadenas, each zipping home in :34.9; Mozu Bello; Aristoteles; Wipe Tears; Melody Lane; Admire Alba; and Shironii.

Lemaire recapped Chrono Genesis’ effort while putting in a good word for her Arc hopes:

“The mare was in very good condition and looked great at the paddock. We were able to race in good position behind Lei Papale. She stretched really well and was able to run the last 200 meters easily. She can race really well on a soft track, so I think she will perform well especially in France.”

By adding two Takarazuka Kinens to her Arima Kinen (G1) trophy from last December, Chrono Genesis also made history as the first mare to win three “Grand Prix” events. Like the Arima Kinen, the Takarazuka Kinen field is partly determined by fans’ votes.

Chrono Genesis earned her Grade 1 breakthrough in the third fillies’ classic, the 2019 Shuka Sho (G1), after placing in the first two jewels in the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) (G1) and Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1). She was also a close second in the 2018 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1).

Her first coup over males came in the 2020 Kyoto Kinen (G2), and she went on to place in last year’s Osaka Hai and Tenno Sho Autumn (G1). The five-year-old sports a mark of 15-8-3-3 and more than ¥1.1 billion in earnings, crossing the billion threshold like past distaff stars Vodka, Buena Vista, Gentildonna, and Almond Eye.

Out of the Kurofune mare Chronologist, Chrono Genesis is a half-sister to multiple Group 1 victress Normcore who beat males in last fall’s Hong Kong Cup (G1).