As expected, Pop Label was a disappointment, coming in a distant seventh (out of the money), when the 'Pop' of old, with a decent jockey, would have won a race of B3 level by several lengths. Pathetic. Truly, pathetic. Take the costs into consideration, and a result like that from a horse of this calibre is almost criminal after having had a month in which to prepare. While the trainer might be at fault for timing the training badly (or just doing a bad job, which wouldn't surprise me), it's also obvious that Sasagawa simply hasn't got the hang of him at all, and seemingly never will - Sophie would have done a better job tonight. All I can say is thank god I didn't travel around the Bay to witness that performance - people would have seen a side of me that I've thankfully managed to contain for a long time. A big part of me is annoyed that I wasted half-an-hour sitting in front of the television, though, because there was a lot more effort from me in doing that than I saw on the track today.
So let's see what we have to show for an awful lot of money being spent supporting Japanese racing: In NAR, Magic Key is out, Kealoha out, Million Ways out, Chocolat Sucre out, Shine Tiara is making up numbers, and Phosphorus and Pop Label are doing the same; of the three newcomers, one has sore shins already. Indeed, Trovao is the only one doing anything beyond being a drain on finances, which is ridiculous considering how good some of these horses are supposed to be. In JRA, six of the seven are at Northern Farm on long-term holiday (a kiss of death), and the remaining one is making up the numbers in that arena. Not good enough!
PS. Having just read the post-race reports, Sasagawa is saying the horse seemed tired. Ummm. At the same time, the trainer is saying he will review the situation after two or three days, and suggesting a treatment that will knock 'Pop' out for several months as well. Here's my suggestion on a better treatment - fire the Tokyo team, and send him back to Hakaku-san at Funabashi, for he hasn't performed anything like he's capable of ever since arriving at TCK, so any advantage of a clockwise track is meaningless. At least he'd be cared for properly at his old home.