The Arima Kinen was designed to be a season-end Grand Prix, in which the runners were selected by fan poll—an “All-Star” event in Japanese Racing. Fans could cast their votes by ballots available at JRA racecourses and off-track betting sites, by mail or by online to select the ten most popular runners. The 2015 edition of the race featured total prize money of about $4,342,000 US.
Gold Actor broke sharply from stall seven and led briefly before allowing the two three-year-olds, Kitasan Black and Lia Fail, to set the pace in first and second, respectively, while hugging the rails in fourth or fifth. The field traveled at a slow pace, covering the first 1,000 meters in 1:02.4 and the front runners were maintaining their positions while the rest crept closer for the attack turning for home in the 2,500 meter turf contest (about 12.5 furlongs). Gold Actor, while advancing to third along the rails with favored Gold Ship on his outside, didn't miss his chance to angle out slightly as the race favorite failed to increase his speed to secure a clear run coming into the home straight and steadily increased his stride in the last 200 meters.
Sounds of Earth did close strongly to finish second by a neck, and Kitasan Black was another three-quarters of a length back in third. The heavily favored Gold Ship ended up finishing eighth.
The eighth choice in the betting, Gold Actor captured his first G1 title and extended his winning streak to four in the year-end Arima Kinen. The 4-year-old son of Screen Hero marked the G1 title for his trainer Tadashige Nakagawa and also for his jockey Hayato Yoshida. He was bred by Hokusho Farm and is owned by Kaname Ishiro.
“It was my first time riding this colt at Nakayama but I knew that this course would suit him and having picked a good draw, I was able to ride him as I had imagined. We made a rather early move so I was praying that he would stay to the finish. He's a smart horse and I knew that he had the ability to perform at this (G1) level. I, as a jockey, took up this career to become a G1 winner and I am happy that my efforts to this day finally paid off,” commented Hayato Yoshida on his first G1 victory.
Watch the race replay here: (number 7 horse, red silks, blue cap)
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