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Monday, Nov. 25, 2002

Dettori doubles down in Japan Cup

Staff writer

FUNABASHI, Chiba Pref. -- Minutes stretched into what seemed like hours as the two horses circled waiting for the decision, both jockeys certain they had won. When the numbers flashed on the infield board, it was Falbrav by a nose and what Frankie Dettori later described as one of his greatest moments.

The Italian-bred Falbrav, running under his country's colors, edged Sarafan of the United States for the win in the 22nd Japan Cup, Italy's first victory in the prestigious international invitational.

Race favorite Symboli Kris S. finished third a neck back with Magnaten in fourth. For Dettori, it was his second Grade 1 win in just 24 hours.

"I don't feel anything anymore, I'm numb," said the 32-year-old ace, who also won the Japan Cup Dirt race here Saturday.

It was a hair-raising finish as Falbrav (which in Italian means "be good") fought it out with Symboli Kris S. Just as he gained the upper hand, Sarafan swept up on the inside.

"Falbrav didn't have time to fight him back but lucky for me the line was there," said Dettori, who also joked, "I hope next time I can win by more distance because it's not good for the heart."

Of the other foreign contenders, 9-year-old Indigenous finished sixth, England's Golan was seventh, Irresistible Jewel from Ireland 11th, France's Bright Sky 13th and Storming Home from England 15th.

Falbrav, by Fairy King, out of Gift of the Night, is now 8 for 16. The 4-year-old home-bred is trained by Luciano D'auria and owned by Scuderia Rencati SRL.

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