BIG Brown has sired his first Group 1 performer after Apollo Sonic lead and posted a brave one and a quarter length third in Sunday’s Japanese Derby (2400m) in Tokyo.

Bred in Kentucky, Apollo Sonic  took up the running was being hailed the winner in midstretch before a wall of challengers descended but the colt managed to dig deep to hold off all bar two in Asia’s most prestigious classic.

Apollo Sonic lodged his Derby claims with a last start nose 2nd in the Group 2 Hai Aoba over the same course and distance as Sunday’s feature.
Earlier on he’s managed a comprehensive 1 1/4-lens win in the 2200m Yamabuki Sho together with a 1400m Maiden win last November at his opening preparation.

Race favorite Kizuna claimed the memorial 80th running of the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) to claim his first G1 title and three consecutive grade-race victories. Making a debut in October 2012, the colt won his first two starts and finished third and fifth, respectively, in his next two graded outings.  His half-sister Phalaenopsis (JPN, by Brian’s Time) is the winner of three G1 races including the 1998 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas). This victory gave jockey Yutaka Take a record number of five Derby titles—including his victory with Kizuna’s sire Deep Impact (JPN, by Sunday Silence) in 2005—and 67th JRA G1 victory.

The race broke off with eighth pick Apollo Sonic and Samson’s Pride rushing out to set the pace, while Kizuna broke smoothly from stall one and eased back towards the rear. As the field stretched into a long line along the backstretch, Meikei Pega Star took off past Apollo Sonic inherit the lead in a fast pace. Second favorite Logotype settled around 5th from the front behind 13th pick Peptide Amazon, and third pick Epiphaneia traveled in mid-division inside fourth choice Codino.

Coming into the homestretch with Apollo Sonic and Meikei Pega Star dueling side by side, the field spread out wide with Epiphaneia steering to the outside and accelerating strongly to draw even with the frontrunners. Just when the Symboli Kris S colt slipped out from the pack to take the front past the 100-meter marker, Kizuna, who angled further wide to find enough space to make bid, closed in with a remarkable charge from behind— running the last three furlongs the fastest in the field— and pulled away in the last three strides to a 1/2-length victory.

Apollo Sonic, who held on well in the homestretch, managed to fend off the fierce rally with Peptide Amazon and Logotype before the wire for a photo-finish third, with the Agnes Tachyon colt coming in a nose behind and the race favorite finishing another nose behind in fifth.

“This is a fantastic result for Big Brown,” says Vinery Stud’s Adam White.
“Apollo Sonic can be a lamp-lighter for Asian markets, particularly Japan, which obviously has an impact on all of his future yearlings at sales here and abroad. To gain a foothold in that region is a tremendous boost for breeders and a great result for those owners and trainers who were able to secure one of his first Vinery-bred yearlings at what could now be viewed as a reduced price.”

Big Brown made a fabulous beginning to his stud career with a bevy of two-year-old winners on dirt and turf around the world.
Already in 2013, he has sired 16 winners.
“Big Brown was arguably the best three-year-old in the world and it’s natural to assume that his progeny would develop and come into their own as three-year-olds and that is certainly the case,” White said.
“His ability to get two-year-old winners that leap ahead at three is a exactly what we would have hoped for and they are equally proficient on the grass as they are on the dirt like he was himself”

Big Brown is scheduled to arrive at Vinery in August.