The Japan Cup, first held in 1981, has established itself to be one of the most reputable and distinguished horse races in Japan with a purse of 476 million yen. Tokyo being the venue for the race is one of the fascinating features as the capital city is an intiguing mix of tradition, excitement and technology. The Japan Cup attracts a wide pool of local talent and international runners making for a unique occasion.
During the initial commencement of the race in 1981, horses trained in Japan, Australia, USA, New Zealand, Canada, and India were invited to participate in the race. This trend changed the following year when elite horses from anywhere around the world were invited to take part making the Japan Cup a complete Invitational event.
Horse racing generates unrivaled excitement for Japanese people attending this exciting occasion as is evidenced in the trumpets and loud roars of applause from the enthusiastic fans heard at the start of the Japan Cup race. The on-track attendance at the event was 109, 956 in 2014 and 88, 865 in 2016. The drop in attendance wasn’t related to a lul in interest, but instead due to extreme weather conditions.
The first Japan Cup was won by an American Mare Mairzy Doates trained by John Fulton and Cash Asmussen, triumphing over Frost King trained in Canada. The 2018 race was won by Kitasan Black making it the second horse to gain victory twice in the event. Gentildonna was the first horse to triumph twice in 2013 and 2014, a back to back victory for the first time in the history of the race.
The Japan Racing Association Racing Museum was opened in 1991 inside the Tokyo racecourse which is free of cost for paying race attendants. The gift shops make it possible to keep the legends in the racehorse alive with the purchase of souvenirs in the form of animal replicas. With the emergence of new champions routinely in the race, every proponent is being immortalised in this style due to the profile of this event.