Tragedy in Tokyo as heart failure claims life of Saudi Derby hero Pink Kamehameha mid-race

Horse Racing Pink Kamehameha Riyadh
Pink Kamehameha (Keita Tosaki) wins the Saudi Derby at Riyadh. Photo: Jockey Club of Saudi Arabia/Doug DeFelice

By Nicholas Godfrey

Japan: Tragic news from Japan where Saudi Derby winner Pink Kamehameha has died after reportedly suffering acute heart failure and crashing through the rails during a race at Tokyo racecourse.

In a sickening incident on the back straight, the three-year-old’s jockey Hiroshi Kitamura was taken to hospital in Fuchu City after being thrown onto the road inside the track after Pink Kemehameha suddenly veered left into the inside running rail and collapsed.

The accident occured after about two furlongs of the Unicorn Stakes over a mile on dirt, a G3 event won by Smasher.

Pink Kamehameha is a son of Leontes, himself a son of the late King Kamehameha, the Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) winner in 2004 who became one of the country’s leading sires.

Representing Japan’s pioneering trainer Hideyuki Mori, Pink Kamehameha won two of his nine career starts. He came to international prominence when he won the $1.5m Saudi Derby on the Saudi Cup card in Riyadh in February, beating US-trained Cowan by three-quarters of a length under Keita Tosaki.

Pink Kamehameha, who won two of his nine career starts, also ran in this year’s UAE Derby, where he was tenth behind Rebel’s Romance.

Renowned globetrotter Mori, who won the Prix de l’Abbaye and July Cup with Agnes World two decades ago, also landed the inaugural Saudi Derby with Full Flat, who beat Mishriff in 2020.

• Visit the Japan Racing Association website

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