Mont Saint Legame Sets Sights on Kentucky Derby
By: Lauren Lima
Mont Saint Legame made quite the showing in the November 26th Cattleya Sho at Tokyo Racecourse and can now lay claim to being the leading Japanese Contender for the 2017 Kentucky Derby with odds available on MyBookie.
The two-year-old colt broke sharply from the gate and stalked the pace all the way around before clearing the leader and going on to win. He took his 1 ¼ length victory after going by pace-setting and betting favorite Blanc Eclat in mid-straight and held off the late closing Caucus. The victory awarded Mont Saint Legame 40 points towards the first Saturday in May. The colt’s winning time was 1:37.80 over a muddy track.
If you believe the hype that his party has been raising, Mont Saint Legame has a bright future. In fact, the chestnut son of Came Home, who ran in the 2002 Kentucky Derby, might soon be heading to Louisville according to trainer Koji Maki’s. Maki has not made any commitments at this point as it will be difficult to predict the direction the colt might go at such an early stage. Still, it is interesting to ruminate over the possibilities.
Mont Saint Legame received considerable praise for the win from fans, officials of the Japan Racing Association and Churchill Downs Inc. President and Chief Operating Officer Bill Mudd.
The ceremony was held in front of the massive Fuji View grandstand prior to the running of the Japan Cup.
Coming behind Legame, Caucus, by 2007 Kentucky Derby champion Street Sense, took 16 points, while Blanc Eclat, by Hansen, and Lavapies took 8 points and 4 points respectively.
The Cattleya Show is primarily designed to give competitors their best chance at getting to the Kentucky Derby. It is one of two races that has been designated on the ‘Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby’, which is separate from the original 35-race ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby.’
Fans looking forward to the Hyacinth, the second race on the ‘Japan Road,’ will have to wait until next year where the top four finishers will be awarded points on a 50-20-10-5 scale.
Horses that want to secure their spot in the Kentucky Derby starting gate must accumulate the most points and rank within the top 20 on the Kentucky Derby leaderboard.
Last year’s Japanese participant, Lani, is still the talk of the town today. The Kentucky-bred Colt by Tapit took the Cattleya Sho victory in 2015 before winning the UAE Derby and making the trip to the United States. Lani then ran in all three of the Triple Crown races (the Kentucky Derby, Preakness and Belmont Stakes) and finished an impressive third in the Belmont, which saw Creator nose out Destin in a dramatic photo finish.
Mont Saint Legame is now 2-for-2 in Tokyo. Though it is early in the game, connections hope he will go on to do big things in the 2017 Kentucky Derby.