Hyacinth Stakes (JPN) | Race Profile

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Hyacinth Stakes (JPN)


Hyacinth Stakes Race History

The Hyacinth Stakes is an annual Thoroughbred race that takes place at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan. It is the final leg of the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby, a special off-shoot of the American prep race circuit which offers a place in the first leg of the Triple Crown to points earners.

Tokyo Racecourse is the crown jewel of racing in Japan. Located in Tokyo, the original track was built in 1933. It has been renovated and updated to offer an upscale horse racing experience to its 223,000 guests with luxury suites, premier restaurants and a grandstand that seats 13,750. Two legs of the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby are hosted by this illustrious and prestigious track.

The first leg of the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby is the Cattleya Sho, which runs in November and offered a bounty of 40-16-8-4 points to the top-four finishers. The Hyacinth Stakes is contested in mid-February and offered 50-20-10-5 points in 2017.

For the 2018 Road to the Kentucky Derby, the Japan circuit has been expanded to include a third race known as the Zen-Nippan Nisai Yushun which will be hosted by Kawasaki Racecourse. All three lges of this prep race series are contested over one mile. The first two legs will now be worth 10-4-2-1 points with the Hyacinth being adjusted to offer 30-12-6-3 derby points.

The highest point getter in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby is offered a spot in the Kentucky Derby. If the connections for that horse decline the offer, it is then offered to the second place finisher in the standings and then the third. Should the top-three point winners from the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby refuse to compete in the Kentucky Derby, then the invitation is withdrawn.

The Hyacinth Stakes has was introduced in 2003 with Big Wolf winning the first running. The next winners were Café Olympus (2004), Don Cool (2005), Flamme de Passion (2006), Ferrari Pisa (2007), Success Broken (2008), Kanetoshi Kosho (2009), Birdie Birdie (2010), La Vie en Claire (2011), Fleet Street (2012), Charlie Brave (2013), Ekimae (2014), Golden Barows (2015), Gold Dream (2016) and Epicharis (2017).

The winner of the Hyacinth Stakes has actually never taken part in the Kentucky Derby, despite the system that was put in place in 2017 to encourage entrants from abroad to participate in the Triple Crown. The 2017 winner, Epicharis, was meant to participate in the 2017 Belmont Stakes but was eventually scratched. Epicharis also came second in the UAE Derby, which was another prep race for the Kentucky Derby.

The purse of the Hyacinth Stakes is approximately $300,000 USD.