Vermilion swept all before him in Tokyo on Saturday with an impressive victory in the $2.3 million Japan Cup Dirt as Student Council, the lone American representative in the 1 5/16-mile Grade 1 contest, weakened to finish eighth, 11 3/4 lengths behind the winner.
The victory by Vermilion, a son of Japan Cup winner El Condor Pasa trained by Sei Ishizaka, was no surprise. Sent off as the 6-5 favorite in a field of 16, Vermilion had previously won the 1 1/4-mile JBC Classic at Ohi, the best race run on Japan's National Association of Racing circuit. This tougher Japan Racing Association fixture proved no more difficult for him. Rated patiently in 11th by Yutaka Take, he rallied to lead at the eighth pole to defeat Field Rouge by 1 1/4 lengths, with Sunrise Bacchus 3 1/2 lengths farther behind in third.
In providing the irrepressible Take with his fourth Japan Cup Dirt triumph, Vermilion set a track record of 2:06.70 for the recently reconfigured Tokyo dirt course, cracking Kane Hekili's 2005 track and stakes mark by
1.3 seconds. The win was also the second Japan Cup Dirt victory in a row for trainer Ishizaka, who had masterminded Alondite's victory last year when Vermilion was fourth. Ishizaka said afterward that he is planning more races outside of Japan for Vermilion, who, prior to his JBC Classic triumph, had finished fourth behind Invasor in the Dubai World Cup.
The Vladimir Cerin-trained Student Council was well backed as the 6-1 third choice. Richard Migliore had the Kingmambo 5-year-old perfectly placed in fifth from the start but was swamped at the end.
"I was able to run him as planned until the final turn," Migliore said, "but he had nothing left in the homestretch."
Student Council, who had run with the aid of Lasix in all but the first of his 22 previous starts, and with butazolidine as well when winning the Pacific Classic on Aug. 19, ran without any race-day medication on Saturday.
Bred by Northern Farm and owned by Sunday Racing Co. Ltd., Vermilion was also giving his outstanding female family another big-race victory. He is out of the Sunday Silence mare Scarlet Lady, whose dam is a full sister to Scarlet Bouquet, the dam of both Daiwa Major, who won the Mile Championship last week, and Daiwa Scarlet, the winner of the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup two weeks ago.