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Master Fencer (JPN) Turns in Final Keeneland Work for Belmont

May 22, 2019

 Katsumi Yoshizawa’s homebred Master Fencer (JPN), who is scheduled to make his next start in the Belmont (G1) on June 8, worked a half-mile in :52 over a fast track Wednesday at Keeneland, where he has resided since placing sixth in the Kentucky Derby Presented by Woodford Reserve (G1) on May 4.

The colt is scheduled to fly to New York on Friday.

Master Fencer, the first horse bred in Japan to run in the Derby, twice has spent time at Keeneland since coming to the U.S. He flew to Chicago, where he cleared quarantine at Arlington Park, and was vanned to Keeneland on April 25 to give him a quieter atmosphere in the days following his first international trip. Four days later, Master Fencer moved to Churchill Downs for the Derby.

On the Thursday after the Derby, Master Fencer returned to Keeneland, where he has trained on the 5-furlong all-weather training track and on the 1 1/16-mile main dirt track. On May 15, he breezed 4 furlongs in :52.80.

With exercise rider Yosuke Kono aboard for trainer Koichi Tsunoda, the 3-year-old colt warmed up this morning by jogging about two laps on the training track before heading to the main track to breeze.

“(Kono) did a stop and go, so he can see how (Master Fencer would) respond for the (start of the race),” said representative Mitsuoki Numamoto, who translated for Kono. “He did that twice, and he responded well.

“The breeze, he did the Japanese way. We start really slowly for maybe 2 furlongs but then have a strong finish.”

Kono said he is satisfied with how Master Fencer has progressed during his time at Keeneland.

“He’s been getting better all the time,” he told Numamoto. “He eats well, and he trains well.”

Master Fencer is a member of the first crop by Japanese champion Just a Way, a grandson of Racing Hall of Famer and leading Japanese sire Sunday Silence. Yoshizawa purchased the colt’s dam, Sexy Zamurai, by Deputy Minister, for $110,000 at Keeneland’s 2005 September Yearling Sale.