It may be the shortest road to Churchill Downs®, but the Japanese Road to the 2019 Kentucky Derby® promises some of the biggest thrills of the prep race season. With just four races to determine the Japanese entrants, every contest carries an increased significance.
That's what made Nova Lenda's victory at the Kawasaki Racecourse on December 19 so important. The Japanese steed earned 20 points on his home country's Road to the Kentucky Derby with a close win in the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun.
It wasn't until the second turn that Nova Lenda made his pursuit known, hustling after and overtaking then-leader Gal Vihara. As the group hit the final stretch, Nova Lenda was tracked down by Derma Louvre, but was able to maintain his advantage long enough to reach the finish line first.
With the victory, Nova Lenda jumped to the top of the Japanese leaderboard with 20 total points. Derma Louvre earned eight points and Gal Vihara claimed four points with a third place finish.
We are now at the halfway point of the Japanese Road to Churchill Downs, with most of the available points still up for grabs. The remaining races are the Hyacinth Stakes on February 17 and the Fukuryu Stakes on March 31. The winner at Hyacinth will earn 30 points, while the Fukuryu victor will add 40 points to their tally.
Kentucky Derby Japan Road Standings
|1||Nova Lenda (JPN)||20|
|2||Make Happy (Filly)||11|
|3||Derma Louvre (JPN)||8|
|4||Gal Vihara (JPN)||4|
Kentucky Derby American Road Standings
Kentucky Derby European Road Standings
|1||Royal Marine (IRE)||10|
|2||Magna Grecia (IRE)||10|
|5||Phoenix of Spain (IRE)||4|
|7||Sydney Opera House||4|
|8||Mount Everest (IRE)||4|
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