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Amante Bianco Likely Favored in Haneda Hai

Report from Japan

Amante Bianco wins the 2023 Cattleya Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse

Amante Bianco wins the 2023 Cattleya Stakes at Tokyo Racecourse

Katsumi Saito

The field of 16 is taking shape for the April 24 Haneda Hai, a 1,800 meter-domestic grade 1 at Oi Racecourse, the first leg of the newly-created Dirt Triple Crown for 3-year-olds.

The likely favorite is Amante Bianco, one of four Japan Racing Association representatives in the race. Though the 3-year-old colt by Henny Hughes was second in the Feb. 14 Kumotori Sho, one of the important prep races for Haneda Hai at Oi last time out, there are a couple of excuses for this defeat. 

Amante Bianco stumbled badly soon after the break and couldn't take the position that he wanted to take. It was his first start since he won the Cattleya Stakes, the first leg of Japan Road to Kentucky Derby (G1) at Tokyo Nov. 25. As he is a big horse—1,182 lbs—he needed the run and should be much fitter on the day of Haneda Hai. 

Post time of Haneda Hai is 8:10 p.m. and Amante Bianco, who is a white horse like his dam Yukichan, should be brought into sharp relief beautifully under the floodlights at Oi Racecourse.

Blue Sun, who won the Kumotori Sho by two lengths, and Ammothyella, who finished second in the March 20 Keihin Hai, another important prep race for Haneda Hai at Oi, are other leading contenders in the Haneda Hai.