ESPN.com - Horse Racing - Japanese star T.M. Opera O returns Sunday

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Friday, March 30
Japanese star T.M. Opera O returns Sunday




The world's richest racehorse, T.M. Opera O, makes his 5-year-old debut at Hanshin Racecourse in Japan Sunday in the Group 2 Sankei Osaka Hai.

With earnings to date of $12,677,309, the Japanese Horse of the Year brings an eight-race winning streak into the 1 1/4-mile contest having won all eight of his starts last year, including Japan's two most prestigious events, the Japan Cup and the Arima Kinen.

Trained by Ichizo Iwamoto for Masatsugu Takezono, T.M. Opera O will have regular rider Ryuji Wada aboard.

*Another Japanese native, Yutaka Take, began his season-long stay in France with a bang Thursday as he scored twice on opening day at Longchamp.

Take won with the Richard Gibson-trained Zudika in a claiming race and with Walled Rih in a handicap for owner/trainer Lionel Charbonnier.

*Longchamp will stage the first Group 2 event of the European season Sunday when eleven older horses line up for the 1 1/4-mile Prix d'Harcourt.

Earlene, winner of the Group 3 Prix Exbury on March 10, will be challenged by two recent listed race winners, Special Ring and Boismorand, but Exbury runner-up Bleu d'Altair poses an even sterner threat.

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