The Tennō Shō (天皇賞, "Emperor's Prize") is a horse race held twice a year in Japan, once in the spring and once in the autumn. "Tenno" means "Emperor of Japan". The races are both International Grade I races. Prior to the 2007 races, both Tenno Sho races were Japanese domestic Grade I races.
|Int'l Grade 1 race|
|Location||Kyoto Racecourse, Kyoto|
(About 16 furlongs / 2 miles)
|Qualification||4-y-o & Up, Thoroughbreds|
|Weight||4-y-o & up 58 kg|
2 kg for fillies and mares
|Purse|| ¥ 325,000,000 (as of 2018)|
1st: ¥ 150,000,000
The Spring Tenno Sho is held at Kyoto Racecourse, in late April or early May. It is run over a distance of 3,200 metres (10,500 ft), making it the longest Grade I race in Japan.
Deep Impact won the 2006 version of the race setting the world record for a 3200 metre race with a time of 3:13.4. beating the World Record set in the 1988 Wellington Cup by Daria’s Fun, held for almost 20 years of 3:15.59, the closest time run in The Melbourne Cup is 3:16.3.Deep Impact's record stood until Kitasan Black won in 3:12.5 in 2017. The average time 1990-2018 of the Tenno Sho is 3:16.7, the Melbourne Cup 3:21.1, a difference of 4.4 seconds.
|1990||Super Creek||5||Yutaka Take||Syuuzi Itou||Makoto Kaneko||3:21.9|
|1991||Mejiro McQueen||4||Yutaka Take||Yasuo Ikee||Mejiro Stud||3:18.8|
|1992||Mejiro McQueen||5||Yutaka Take||Yasuo Ikee||Mejiro Stud||3:20.0|
|1993||Rice Shower||4||Hitoshi Matoba||Yoshitsugu Iizuka||Hide Kurabayashi||3:17.1|
|1994||Biwa Hayahide||4||Yukio Okabe||Mitsumasa Hamada||Biwa Co Ltd||3:22.6|
|1995||Rice Shower||6||Hitoshi Matoba||Yoshitsugu Iizuka||Hide Kurabayashi||3:19.9|
|1996||Sakura Laurel||5||Norihiro Yokoyama||Katsutarou Sakai||Sakura Commerce||3:17.8|
|1997||Mayano Top Gun||5||Seiki Tabara||Masahiro Sakaguchi||Yuu Tadokoro||3:14.4|
|1998||Mejiro Bright||4||Hiroshi Kawachi||Hidekazu Asami||Mejiro Stud||3:15.3|
|1999||Special Week||4||Yutaka Take||Toshiaki Shirai||Hiroyoshi Usuda||3:17.1|
|2000||T M Opera O||4||Ryuji Wada||Ichizo Iwamoto||Masatsugu Takezono||3:17.6|
|2001||T M Opera O||5||Ryuji Wada||Ichizo Iwamoto||Masatsugu Takezono||3:16.2|
|2002||Manhattan Cafe||4||Masayoshi Ebina||Futoshi Kojima||Ken Nishikawa||3:19.5|
|2003||Hishi Miracle||4||Koichi Tsunoda||Masaru Sayama||Masaichiro Abe||3:17.0|
|2004||Ingrandire||5||Norihiro Yokoyama||Yoshinami Shimizu||Chizu Yoshida||3:18.4|
|2005||Suzuka Mambo||4||Katsumi Ando||Mitsuru Hashida||Keiji Nagai||3:16.5|
|2006||Deep Impact||4||Yutaka Take||Yasuo Ikee||Makoto Kaneko||3:13.4|
|2007||Meisho Samson||4||Mamoru Ishibashi||Shigetada Takahashi||Yoshio Matsumoto||3:14.1|
|2008||Admire Jupiter||5||Yasunari Iwata||Yasuo Tomomichi||Riichi Kondo||3:15.1|
|2009||Meiner Kitz||6||Masami Matsuoka||Sakae Kunieda||Ruffian Thoroughbred Club||3:14.4|
|2010||Jaguar Mail||6||Craig Williams||Noriyuki Hori||Ken Yoshida||3:15.7|
|2011||Hiruno d'Amour||4||Shinji Fujita||Mitsugu Kon||Hashimoto Bokujo||3:20.6|
|2012||Beat Black||5||Syu Ishibashi||Hitoshi Nakamura||Koji Maeda||3:13.8|
|2013||Fenomeno||4||Masayoshi Ebina||Hirofumi Toda||Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.||3:14.2|
|2014||Fenomeno||5||Masayoshi Ebina||Hirofumi Toda||Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.||3:15.1|
|2015||Gold Ship||6||Norihiro Yokoyama||Naosuke Sugai||Kobayashi Eiichi Holdings||3:14.7|
|2016||Kitasan Black||4||Yutaka Take||Hisashi Shimizu||Ono Shoji||3:15.3|
|2017||Kitasan Black||5||Yutaka Take||Hisashi Shimizu||Ono Shoji||3:12.5|
|2018||Rainbow Line||5||Yasunari Iwata||Hidekazu Asami||Masahiro Mita||3:16.2|
|2019||Fierement||4||Christophe Lemaire||Takahisa Tezuka||Sunday Racing||3:15.0|
|2020||Fierement||5||Christophe Lemaire||Takahisa Tezuka||Sunday Racing||3:16.5|
|2021*||World Premiere||5||Yuichi Fukunaga||Yasuo Tomomichi||Ryoichi Otsuka||3:14.7|
*The 2021 Spring Tennō Shō was contested at Hanshin Racecourse, due to construction at Kyoto Racecourse.
|Int'l Grade 1 race|
|Location||Tokyo Racecourse, Fuchu, Tokyo|
(About 10 furlongs / 1+1⁄4 miles)
|Qualification||3-y-o & Up, Thoroughbreds|
|Weight||3-y-o 56 kg \ 4-y-o & up 58 kg|
2 kg for fillies and mares
|Purse|| ¥ 325,000,000 (as of 2017)|
1st: ¥ 150,000,000
The Autumn Tenno Sho is held at Tokyo Racecourse, in late October. It is run over a distance of 2,000 metres (6,600 ft). It is considered the first leg of the Japanese Autumn Triple Crown (the other two are the Japan Cup and the Arima Kinen).
Originally, the Autumn Tenno Sho was run over a distance of 3,200 metres (10,500 ft), but was shortened to its current distance to promote middle-distance horses and to promote 3-year-old horses as a shorter-distance alternative to the Kikuka Sho, the Japanese St. Leger, which is 3,000 metres (9,800 ft).
|1990||Yaeno Muteki||5||Yukio Okabe||Mitsuo Ogino||Fuji Co||1:58.2|
|1991||Prekrasnie*||4||Teruo Eda||Terumaso Yano||Tazima Nirou Sakai||2:03.9|
|1992||Let's Go Tarquin||5||Akikasu Osaki||K Hashiguchi||Diners Club Japan||1:58.6|
|1993||Yamanin Zephyr||4||Masao Shibata||Hiromu Kurita||Tadashi Doi||1:58.9|
|1994||Nehai Caesar||4||Shiomura Katsumi||Akira Huse||Daimaru Enterprise||1:58.6|
|1995||Sakure Chitose O||5||Hutoshi Kozima||Katsutarao Sakai||Sakura Commerce||1:58.8|
|1996||Bubble Gum Fellow||3||Masayoshi Ebina||Kazuo Fujisawa||Shadai Racehorse||1:58.7|
|1997||Air Groove||4||Yutaka Take||Yasunori Ito||Lucky Field Co Ltd||1:59.0|
|1998||Offside Trap||7||Yoshitomi Shibata||Shuho Kato||Takao Watanabe||1:59.3|
|1999||Special Week||4||Yutaka Take||Toshiaki Shirai||Hiroyoshi Usuda||1:58.0|
|2000||T M Opera O||4||Ryuji Wada||Ichizo Iwamoto||Masatsugu Takezono||1:59.9|
|2001||Agnes Digital||4||Hirofumi Shii||Toshiaki Shirai||Takao Watanabe||2:02.0|
|2002||Symboli Kris S@||3||Yukio Okabe||Kazuo Fujisawa||Symboli Stud||1:58.5|
|2003||Symboli Kris S||4||Olivier Peslier||Kazuo Fujisawa||Symboli Stud||1:58.0|
|2004||Zenno Rob Roy||4||Olivier Peslier||Kazuo Fujisawa||Shinobu Oohasa||1:58.9|
|2005||Heavenly Romance||5||Mikio Matsunaga||Masashi Yamamoto||Nosohiruzu Management||2:00.1|
|2006||Daiwa Major||5||Katsumi Ando||Hiroyuki Uehara||Keizou Ooshiro||1:58.8|
|2007||Meisho Samson||4||Yutaka Take||Shigetada Takahashi||Yoshio Matsumoto||1:58.4|
|2008||Vodka||4||Yutaka Take||Katsuhiko Sumii||Yuzo Tanimizu||1:57.2|
|2009||Company#||8||Norihiro Yokoyama||Hidetaka Otonashi||Eiko Kondou||1:57.2|
|2010||Buena Vista||4||Christophe Soumillon||Hiroshi Matsuda||Sunday Racing Co Ltd||1:58.2|
|2011||Tosen Jordan||5||Nicola Pinna||Yasutoshi Ikee||Takaya Shimakawa||1:56.1|
|2012||Eishin Flash||5||Mirco Demuro||Hideaki Fujiwara||Toyomitsu Hirai||1:57.3|
|2013||Just A Way||4||Yuichi Fukunaga||Naosuke Sugai||Akatsuki Yamatoya||1:57.5|
|2014||Spielberg||5||Hiroshi Kitamura||Kazuo Fujisawa||Hidetoshi Yamamoto||1:59.7|
|2015||Lovely Day||5||Suguru Hamanaka||Yasutoshi Ikee||Kaneko Makoto Holdings||1:58.4|
|2016||Maurice||5||Ryan Moore||Noriyuki Hori||Kazumi Yoshida||1:59.3|
|2017||Kitasan Black||5||Yutaka Take||Hisashi Shimizu||Ono Shoji||2:08.3|
|2018||Rey de Oro||4||Christophe Lemaire||Kazuo Fujisawa||U Carrot Farm||1:56.8|
|2019||Almond Eye||4||Christophe Lemaire||Sakae Kunieda||Silk Racing||1:56.2|
|2020||Almond Eye||5||Christophe Lemaire||Sakae Kunieda||Silk Racing||1:57.8|
Prior to 1980, a horse winning a Tennō Shō races was not allowed to participate in future editions of the race but this ban was lifted in 1981. Only two horses won the prize three times:
Apart from Kitasan Black and T M Opera O, four horses to date have won consecutive runnings, either by winning both the Spring and Autumn races in the same year or by winning the Autumn race, and following year's Spring race.
Five horses have won two non-consecutive runnings.
Yutaka Take is a Japanese jockey. A legend in Japan, Yutaka Take made his riding debut in 1987 and currently holds seven all-time records in his native country. Born in 1969, Take followed in his father's footsteps, as Kunihiko Take was also a famed jockey. In 1987, the younger Take notched his first career victory at Hanshin Racecourse aboard a horse named Dyna Bishop. He ended the season as the champion apprentice with 69 winners. Two years later, he was the overall champion jockey, and Take held that title continuously until 1999, with the exception of 1991. As of 27 December 2017, the Japan Racing Association credits him with 3,945 wins, of which 323 came in graded stakes, while 75 have come in Grade 1. Take has won at least one Grade 1 for 23 straight years and a graded stakes race for 31 consecutive years. He also has the most victories in a year: 212. Although Take has ridden a number of champions, he is most associated with legendary racehorse and champion sire Deep Impact. The pair won a total of seven Grade 1 races, including the 2005 Japanese Triple Crown, and Deep Impact has gone to be the premier sire in Japan. Currently, Take is known for riding Kitasan Black, the reigning Japanese Horse of the Year. Take has also shown his abilities abroad. He has 114 wins to his credit in eight countries, including Australia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Korea, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, and the United States. A sampling of his international victories includes Group 1 wins in the Prix d'Ispahan (France) and Hong Kong Cup, two races timed by Longines, the July Cup (England) and Dubai Duty Free Stakes (UAE).
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