Connect with us


[ODDS and EVENS] Forever Young Brings a Perfect Record into the Kentucky Derby

Ryusei Sakai will ride Forever Young in the Kentucky Derby, seeking to become Japan's first winner of the race. Kazushi Kimura will saddle up T O Password.



Kentucky Derby
Forever Young exercises at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky, on April 20, 2024. (Coady Media/Churchill Downs)

Read the full story on SportsLook - [ODDS and EVENS] Forever Young Brings a Perfect Record into the 150th Kentucky Derby

As the countdown to the 150th running of the Kentucky Derby grows closer and closer, the buzz surrounding unbeaten Japanese thoroughbred Forever Young has been constant.

After all, the Real Steel-sired colt is 5-for-5 in his young racing career. Up-and-coming jockey Ryusei Sakai has piloted grandsire Deep Impact's headline-grabbing progeny in all of his starts to date.

I've never been mistaken for a genius, but I do know this: There would be no better early birthday present for Sakai, who turns 27 on May 31, than a triumph in the Kentucky Derby.

Forever Young is already a winner in three different countries (Japan, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates), and going for a triumph in a fourth nation on Saturday, May 4. Post time is 6:57 PM at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. For racing fans in Japan, it'll be Sunday at 7:57 AM JST.

Joining Forever Young, trained by Yoshito Yahagi, in the Kentucky Derby is T O Password, ridden by Toronto-based Japanese jockey Kazushi Kimura.

Kentucky Derby
Trainer Yoshito Yahagi (©SANKEI)

In Kentucky, Yahagi is in his element, preparing his horse for one of the world's great races.

"I'm very proud to represent Japan at Kentucky Derby 150," Yahagi told reporters on Wednesday, May 1 at Churchill Downs. "American horse racing is very tough. I always have so much respect for American horses.

"My horse had a great morning yesterday for his breeze (high-speed exercise) and I'm very pleased with how he did it. We did many things to prepare for kickback (which includes flying dirt in the race). But that's all secret."

Kentucky Derby
Kentucky Derby preparations: Forever Young works out at Churchill Downs on April 30. (Coady Media/Churchill Downs)

Forever Young's Success to Date

Forever Young made his debut on October 14, 2023, in a 2-Year-Old Newcomer race, which was contested over 1,800 meters at Kyoto Racecourse. He won it by four lengths.

For owner Susumu Fujita's prized thoroughbred, two more races followed to close out the year, on November 3 in the 1,800-meter JBC Nisai Yushun at Hokkaido's Mombetsu Racecourse and December 13 in the 1,600-meter Zen-Nippon Nisai Yushun. Forever Young romped to an impressive seven-length win in the latter event at Kawasaki Racecourse.

After the calendar flipped to 2024, Forever Young continued to make a name for himself in the racing world.

Continue reading the full story on SportsLook.


Author: Ed Odeven

Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and X (formerly Twitter) @ed_odeven