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There are two different ways “handicap” usually gets used in horse racing. One is to refer to the process of calculating which horse is likely to win, and how to profit from that intuition (also known as “being good at betting on horses”). The other is a system in which horses that have proven to be faster than the rest of the field carry extra weight in a race.

Today, though, we’re using it to refer to a horse that recently raced in Tokyo, who’s ridiculously fast but seemed to do everything he could to let his opponents pass him for the win.

Last Sunday the Tokyo Racecourse, located in the capital’s Fuchu neighborhood, held an open race called the Ireland Trophy. Horses three years old and up were eligible to enter, and betters quickly made Eishin Hikari the favorite.

Racing is in Eishin Hikari’s blood. The three-year-old was sired by Deep Impact, who as a winner of the Japanese Triple Crown created a more lasting legacy than the 1998 disaster movie he shares a name with. Eishin Hikari’s celebrated lineage even stretches back to his grandfather (or grandsire, if you want to be technical): Sunday Silence, winner of two of the three legs of the American Triple Crown in 1989.

▼ Shhh! It’s Sunday Silence.

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If his family tree wasn’t impressive enough, Eishin Hikari had won all four races he’d been entered in going into Sunday’s Ireland Trophy. By the nature of the term, being the favorite meant that, in addition to his jockey, the horse had a huge sum of bets riding on him, so the gallery must have been thrilled when the gates opened and Eishin Hikari jumped out to a huge lead.

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As a matter of fact, Eishin Hikari was so separated from the rest of the pack, apparently he felt it wasn’t very sporting. We guess it’s also possible he was so alone he just forgot that he was in the middle of a race, but whatever the reason, he started wandering away from the rail towards the opposite side of the turf.

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Taking the inside line is, of course, the fastest path to the finish. By altering his course, Eishin Hikari was now running a considerably farther distance than the 2,000 meters (1.24 miles) his competitors were. This couldn’t have sat well with everyone who’d placed a bet on him, but could he redeem himself in what little distance was left before the finish line?


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In the end, it wasn’t even close, as Eishin Hikari still managed to beat second-place-finisher X Mark by a comfortable margin.

So should you find yourself with a little extra cash in your pocket and an itch to play the ponies, consider putting your faith in Eishin Hikari. Just be prepared for a little drama along the way.

Source: Livedoor
Top image: YouTube
Insert images: Jockey Site, YouTube