Cattleya Stakes

Road to the Kentucky Derby > Cattleya Stakes

Cattleya Stakes Race Facts

  • Location: Tokyo Racecourse, Tokyo, Japan
  • Inaugural Race: 2003
  • Distance: 1,600 meters (about one mile)
  • Track Type: Left-handed, Dirt
  • Age Qualifications: Two-year-olds
  • 2023 Purse: $220,000
  • 2023 Race Date: Saturday, November 25th

The Cattleya Stakes is the first race in the Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby Prep Races, offering the first five finishers 10-5-3-2-1 points respectively.

2023 Cattleya Stakes Race Results

Amante Bianco
C.Lemaire / K.Miyata
¥450 / ¥180
George Tesoro
Y.Hara / T.Kato
S.Ishibashi / M.Takayanagi
Star Turn
H.Kitamura / T.Sakaguchi
More Than Once
A.Nishimura / T.Takano
Pod Logo
T.Yokoyama / M.Nishizono
Rata Forest
M.Iwata / Y.Kato
Marcha Real
A.Sugawara / T.Saito
Storm Vanguard
Y.Mizuguchi / I.Okada
H.Uchida / T.Tanaka

Exotic Payoffs:

  • Exacta (6-9) Paid: 40,380 JPY
  • Trifecta (6-9-12) Paid: 589,370 JPY 

Watch the 2023 Cattleya Stakes

History of the Cattleya Stakes

Founded in 2003, the Cattleya Stakes is an allowance race in Japan for 2-year-olds run on dirt. It wasn’t run between 2008 and 2014, but the race resumed in 2015.

In 2015, it was won by the American-bred Tapit colt Lani, whose owners set him on the path to the U.S. Classics. He earned entry to the Kentucky Derby by winning the UAE Derby at Meydan, and in the Triple Crown races he finished ninth in the Derby, fifth in the Preakness Stakes, and a creditable third in the Belmont Stakes.

Churchill Downs introduced its 2017 Japanese Road to the Kentucky Derby the following year, making the 2016 Cattleya Stakes one of two qualifying races along with the Hyacinth Stakes in March. It remained a qualifying race in 2017, with a third addition, December’s Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun. For the 2018 Japanese Road, the Cattleya Stakes and the Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun carry a 10-4-2-1 points split for the first four, while the Hyacinth has a 30-12-6-3 split. As of 2023, as part of an overall expansion of points being made available for horses, the Cattleya Stakes award 10-5-3-2-1 points to the first five finishers.

Not many of Japan’s best juveniles contest the Cattleya Stakes, but Lani’s Triple Crown efforts show it’s not a race to dismiss out of hand as a Kentucky Derby prep.

The Kentucky Derby trail has proven to be a highly successful method for preparing to run in the Kentucky Derby. Thus, the Road to the Kentucky Derby organizers have extended the prep races overseas. The Japan Road to the Kentucky Derby was introduced for the 2017 prep season and includes the Cattleya Sho in November and the Hyacinth early in the new year.

One reason for including the Cattleya Sho and the Hyacinth is that they are designed for the appropriate age class on a dirt surface. The majority of top level Thoroughbred races in Japan are run on turf. For example, the Japanese Triple Crown actually consists of three races – the Satsuki Sho, Tokyo Hushun and Kikuka Sho – which are all run on turf. The mainstay of turf contenders makes it hard to assess competence for the American Triple Crown series.

The most well-known winner of the Cattleya Sho is Lani, an American-born horse who raced out of Japan under Mikio Matsunaga during the 2015-16 campaign. Lani endeared racing fans with his goofy and unpredictable attitude, and was equally difficult to read at the racetrack. He topped out with a 3rd place finish in the Belmont Stakes in the United States, following finishing 9th in the Kentucky Derby and 5th in the Preakness Stakes for 2016. He has since returned to Japan.

Not many horses travel across the Pacific to race in North America and those that do, don’t have a history of performing at the top levels of American racing. There have been previous contenders that have run in the Kentucky Derby, or other legs of the Triple Crown, but few finished within winning position.

With the continued growth and success in breeding and racing abroad, it may be only a matter of time until we see a Kentucky Derby winner hail from Japan. Breeding in Japan strongly follows the footsteps of Sunday Silence who won the Kentucky Derby, Preakness Stakes and Breeders’ Cup Classic in 1989. Sunday Silence was Japan’s leading sire for 13 straight years from 1995 through 2007. Deep Impact, a son of Sunday Silence, has led many years since.

By building stronger pedigrees at the classic distance, with an affinity to dirt, it is only a matter of time before strong contenders regularly arrive in the Kentucky Derby field.

All Time Results for the Cattleya Stakes

Jockey / Trainer
Distance / Time
Amante Bianco
Christophe Lemaire / Keisuke Miyata
1600 m / 1.37.5
Damian Lane / Yoshito Yahagi
1600 m / 1.36.6
Christophe Patrice Lemaire / Yukio Inagaki
1600 m / 1.38.0
Lemon Pop
Keita Tosaki / Hiroyasu Tanaka
1600 m / 1:36.4
Dieu du Vin
Lanfranco Dettori / Yukihiro Kato
1600 m / 1:36.2
Make Happy
Christophe Lemaire / Koichi Shinkai
1600 m / 1.38.3
Keita Tosaki / Yuichi Shikato
1600 m / 1.38.2
Mont Saint Legame
Takuya Kowata / Koji Maki
1600 m / 1:37.8
Hiroyuki Uchida / Mikio Matsunaga
1600 m / 1:37.4
no race