Horse Racing

Connections Noncomittal About Equinox’s Future

The questions about what the future held for Equinox  following the Nov. 26 Japan Cup (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse were swirling long before he entered the starting gate.

Now that he won the race with an impressive come-from-behind victory Sunday, it didn’t take long before the will-he-or-won’t-he queries were put forth.

It’s understandable; Equinox is about as successful as any Japanese racehorse in recent years and is surely going to be an in-demand option whenever he retires to stud. At the same time, there is significant interest in continuing the 4-year-old colt’s racing career. 

Trainer Tetsuya Kimura tried to pump the brakes on any speculation immediately after the race. Instead of what’s next for the colt he looked at his next steps.

“I would like to request you to give us some holiday, me some holiday,” he said through an interpreter. 

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There is a strong desire by the global racing community to see how well Equinox would fare outside of Japan whether that be a trek to Paris for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) or across the Pacific to run in the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar. 

This is a big decision for owner Silk Racing, which is the racing arm of Shadai Stud and breeder Northern Farm. Do they strike while the iron is hot and retire Equinox, who will have no trouble filling out his first book? Or do they run him next year hoping he not only continues winning grade 1s but also takes on the best the world can offer while hoping to avoid injury, defeat, or both?

Kimura has said all of the right things. He’s said in the week leading up to the Japan Cup as well as following it that the focus has been on the race and nothing more. After the victory, he said Equinox’s calendar was a blank slate.

But there’s certainly a sense the trainer would like to race. He also is careful to not step on the toes of his employer, so he’s quick to point out it is not his decision. 

“I would like to check his condition first, whether he’s not okay or not,” Kimura said. “And then we would like to consult with the owner about the future plans, and at the moment there’s nothing that is determined for him in terms of the race. Up to today, the focus was solely on the Japan Cup.”

Jockey Christophe Lemaire, on the other hand, did not hide his feelings about what he’d like to see happen.

“Just remember Equinox as a beauty on the track—next year, hopefully,” he said.

Editor’s Note: BloodHorse’s coverage of the Japan Cup is partially funded with travel provided by the Japan Racing Association.


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