The Tokyo Yūshun is the second fixture of the Japanese Triple Crown and the equivalent of the English Epsom Derby. The race is preceded by the Satsuki Shō and followed by the Kikuka Shō. Together they form the most anticipated trio of thoroughbred horse races in Japan.
Like the races of the original English Triple Crown, the Tokyo Yūshun is open only to three-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies. Colts must carry 57kg and fillies must carry 55kg. It is held on turf at the left-handed Tokyo racecourse and extends over 2400 meters - that's nearly 12 furlongs.
location: Tokyo Racecourse
grade: Grade 1
race type: Flat
While the Japanese Triple Crown was introduced in the early 1940s, the Tokyo Yūshun has been running since 1932. It is hosted annually in mid to late April. Since 2010, the Japanese Triple Crown is also open to horses trained and bred outside of Japan. It was previously a contest exclusive to Japanese thoroughbreds.
According to the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities, the Tokyo Yūshun awards an impressive purse of ¥432,000,000. That is the equivalent of around £2.8 million making it one of the most valuable races on the Japanese racing calendar (as of 2017).
As Japan has only recently opened this race up to competitors outside its borders, most of the records are held by Japanese competitors (as of 2017).
Only five jockeys have achieved a Yushun Himba/ Tokyo Yūshun (Oaks/Derby) victory in the same season. The most recent was Christophe Lemaire on Rey de Oro in 2017 after a 42-year dry spell for the record.
In addition, only five trainers have managed to win that same double including the most recent winner Kazuo Fujisawa in 2017.
The 2015 winner Duramente set a record time of 2 minutes and 23.2 seconds.
Each year that produces a new record or Triple Crown victory is a memorable occasion in the history of the Tokyo Yūshun (as of 2017).
The 2015 event was a historic moment for the race as Japanese colt Duramente won the Tokyo Yūshun by a decisive two lengths ahead of Satono Rasen. He started the race as the favourite to win and didn't disappoint setting a new record for fastest time.
Seven horses have managed to win the Japanese Triple Crown series which encompasses the Satsuki Shō, Tokyo Yūshun and Kikuka Shō. This short list of winners includes St. Lite (1941), Shinzan (1964), Mr. C.B. (1983), Symboli Rudolph (1984), Narita Brian (1994), Deep Impact (2005), and Orfevre (2011) before he came in second at Prix del'Arc de Triomphe.