With Derby winners out, 42nd Cup is anyone’s to win | Japan Updates

It was back in 1981 when the Japan Cup was first run at the Tokyo racecourse in a bid to see how Japanese horses would fare against challengers from other countries. That first race went the way of a 5-year-old mare from America, Mairzy Doates, ridden by Cash Asmussen.

The horse was sent off the fifth favorite, but not only did she win, she also set a new course record for the 2,400-meter race of 2:25.3 seconds. That time has since been whittled down over the years, showing just how much better the horses in the race have become. But it did have the Japanese racing fraternity quite worried back then about whether local runners would ever be able to achieve a world-class standard.

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