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Yuji Inaida’s France Go de Ina, trained by Hideyuki Mori, shipped to Belmont on Monday following his seventh-place finish in the Preakness Stakes (G1) under Joel Rosario.
Mori’s travelling assistant Masaki Takano will oversee the 2-time winner’s preparations heading into the $1.5 million Belmont Stakes Presented by NYRA Bets (G1).
“He seemed to travel really well, it was a trouble free trip,” said Takano through translator Kate Hunter. “This is a good experience for the horse because the racing here is so different. Over the course of the time that he’s been here, he’s been able to get used to the American style of doing things. That’s helped him relax into the routine and hopefully it will lead to a better performance in the future.”
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Takano said that France Go de Ina, a 2-time winner in Japan at Hanshin Racecourse, should be well-prepared heading into his next engagement.
“The extra length of the Belmont, and the experience he’s gotten from racing once here already, it’s likely we’ll have a better chance to perform better based off his pedigree. We’re looking forward to giving it another go,” said Takano.
A $100,000 purchase at the 2019 Keeneland September Yearling Sale, the Kentucky-bred France Go de Ina is by Will Take Charge and out of the Curlin mare Dreamy Blues.
France Go de Ina is a 2-time winner at Hanshin Racecourse, including a maiden score on November 28 and an allowance coup on December 19. France Go de Ina entered the Preakness from a sixth in the UAE Derby (G2) following a poor start.
Takano said France Go de Ina will resume training on Friday morning.
A $1 million bonus is offered to the connections of any Japan-based horse who wins the Belmont Stakes, in addition to the $800,000 winner’s share. Contested at 1 1/2 miles (2,400 meters), the Belmont is the same distance as classic races in Japan.
In 2016, the Japan-based Lani competed in all three legs of the Triple Crown, with his best showing being a third-place finish in the Belmont Stakes. Master Fencer, who was elevated to sixth in the 2019 Kentucky Derby, closed to finish fifth in that year’s Belmont.
To qualify for the bonus, a horse must have made at least 3 starts in Japan prior to starting in the Belmont and must be nominated to North America’s Triple Crown series. In the event of a dead heat, the connections will receive a $600,000 bonus.
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