SANTA ANITA DERBY WINNER ROADSTER, IDLE SINCE KENTUCKY DERBY, HEADS SUNDAY’S GRADE III, $100,000 AFFIRMED STAKES AT 1 1/16 MILES BAFFERT HAS POWERFUL THREE-CARD HAND THAT INCLUDES MUCHO GUSTO & KINGLYARCADIA, Calif. (June 12, 2019)–Bob Baffert holds a powerful three-card hand as his Santa Anita Derby winning Roadster, Mucho Gusto and Kingly loom large among a field of six sophomores in Sunday’s Grade III, $100,000 Affirmed Stakes at Santa Anita. Named for Harbor View Farm’s homebred Triple Crown Champion of 1978, the Affirmed will be contested at a mile and one sixteenth.ROADSTEROwner: Speedway Stable, LLCTrainer: Bob BaffertAn authoritative half length winner of the Grade I Santa Anita Derby on April 6, this Quality Road colt was never a factor over a sloppy track at Churchill Downs, finishing 16thin the Kentucky Derby on May 4. Sidelined due to an entrapped epiglottis following a third place finish as the 3-5 favorite in the Grade I Del Mar Futurity Sept. 3, Roadster came back running three starts back for Baffert on March 1, as he tried two turns for the first time in a 2 ½ length allowance win at a one mile. Although ridden by Florent Geroux in the Run for the Roses, he’ll be reunited with Mike Smith, who had ridden him in his first four starts, in Sunday’s Affirmed. The leading money winner in the field with $706,200, he has three wins from five starts.MUCHO GUSTOOwner: Michael Lund PetersenTrainer: Bob BaffertOff as the prohibitive 1-2 favorite, this Kentucky-bred colt by Mucho Macho Man annexed his third graded stakes win on May 18, as he cut back in distance off of a disappointing third in the Grade III, 1 1/8 mile Sunland Derby to take the Grade III, seven furlong Lazaro Barrera Stakes here by 3 ¼ lengths. A 4 ¾ length winner of the Grade III Robert B. Lewis Stakes going 1 1/16 miles three starts back on Feb. 2, Mucho Gusto could prove an elusive front-running target under regular rider Joe Talamo.KINGLYOwner: Clearview Stables, LLC, RAC O4 Racing, LLC and Michael MeeganTrainer: Bob BaffertA first out maiden winner going six furlongs at Del Mar on Dec. 1, this son of Tapit comes off a third place finish to Affirmed rival Visitant in the one mile Alcatraz Stakes at Golden Gate Fields on May 19. A half length victor over Visitant two starts back in the 1 1/8 mile California Derby on April 27, Kingly is 5-2-2-1 and will be ridden by Mario Gutierrez for the third consecutive time. With his last three starts coming on synthetic Tapeta at Golden Gate, he’ll return to Santa Anita’s main track for the first time since Jan. 31, when he was third as the 8-5 favorite in a one mile allowance over a sloppy track.VISITANTOwner: Williamson Racing, LLCTrainer: John F. MartinA winner of three out his four starts, all at Golden Gate, this homebred colt by Ghostzapper rallied from off the pace to win the one mile Alcatraz on May 19 by 1 ¼ lengths, earning an Affirmed-best last-out Beyer Speed figure of 91. With regular rider William Antongeorgi in town to ride, it would appear Visitant will have plenty of pace to run at as he gets a major test for class.THE GRADE III AFFIRMED STAKES WITH JOCKEYS & WEIGHTS IN POST POSITION ORDERRace 8 of 9 Approximate post time 4:35 p.m. PTVisitant–William Antongeorgi–122Always Forgiven–Kent Desormeaux–120Manhattan Up–Tiago Pereira–120Kingly–Mario Gutierrez–122Roadster–Mike Smith–124Mucho Gusto–Joe Talamo–124First post time for a nine-race card on Sunday is at 1 p.m. For additional information, please visit santaanita.com or call (626) 574-RACE.
Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe makes a rare trip to China on Thursday hoping improved relations will lead to new economic partnerships, as the two countries come under US pressure on trade. China’s Premier Li Keqiang (L) gestures as he speaks with Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as they arrive to pose for a family photograph during an ASEM summit at the European Council in Brussels on October 19, 2018. (AFP) The visit is the first by a Japanese premier since 2011 and is part of a years-long process of repairing ties in the wake of a disastrous falling-out in 2012, when Tokyo “nationalised” disputed islands claimed by Beijing.The incident prompted anti-Japanese riots in China, and kicked off a frosty spell that has only gradually and recently begun to thaw.Since an awkward 2014 encounter between Abe and Chinese President Xi Jinping on the sidelines of a summit, there have been ministerial visits by both sides and a softening of rhetoric.But Abe’s trip will be a test of how far the two countries have come, and the need for progress is all the more urgent as US President Donald Trump levies tariffs and rattles sabres on trade with both China and Japan.“The trade war with the US seems like it’s helping bring them together a bit,” said Kristin Vekasi, assistant professor of political science at the University of Maine, and an expert on Japan-China ties.“In that sense, they’re actually on the same side… and if Japan leans away from the US because of decreased economic opportunities, there’s a potential for closer ties with China,” she told AFP.Complementary economiesThe two leaders are likely to focus on a range of potential deals, including joint investments in infrastructure in regional nations including Indonesia and the Philippines.Abe has signalled some interest in China’s massive “Belt and Road Initiative”, which funds major infrastructure work, but experts said a concrete deal on Japanese participation was unlikely for now.Both sides are keen to improve economic cooperation, with Japanese business eager for increased access to China’s massive market, and Beijing interested in Japanese technology and corporate knowhow.“Japan and China have really nicely complementary economies, and they can benefit hugely from having closer trade and investment ties,” said Vekasi.“They’ll try and bring home some economic tangibles. That’s generally where they’ve been able to successfully cooperate in the past.”The two leaders may find less common ground outside of the economic realm, with tensions lingering over territorial issues.Just days before Abe’s trip, Tokyo lodged an official complaint after Chinese ships cruised around the disputed islands that Tokyo calls the Senkaku and Beijing labels the Diaoyu islands.And in September, Japan carried out its first submarine drills in the disputed South China Sea.Japan does not border the South China Sea but has expressed concern about Chinese military activity there.Panda diplomacy? Abe and Xi are likely to simply avoid those thornier issues, said Kazuyuki Suwa, a professor of political science at the University of Shizuoka.“Neither side will make any compromises… They will say what they need to say, and won’t likely agree to go beyond that,” he told AFP.“The relationship is a mixture of cooperation and confrontation, and that will stay the same.”Much of the meeting will be about optics, with both men looking for the symbolic boost that the summit will provide.Abe will also be hoping to extract a pledge that China will make good on plans for Xi to pay a reciprocal visit to Japan next year.If he succeeds, “that itself should be called one of the major achievements of this trip,” Suwa said.And there may be other diplomatic tools at the ready as well.When Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang visited Japan earlier this year, he announced a gift of a pair of rare wild crested ibises, which arrived this month.Japanese media have reported Abe is hoping that his visit will produce a bigger bonanza in the form of some panda diplomacy, with zoos in Sendai and Kobe apparently angling for new additions.Source: TRTWorld and agencies London best pest control The visit is the first by a Japanese premier since 2011 and is part of a years-long process of repairing ties in the wake of a disastrous falling-out in 2012, when Tokyo “nationalised” disputed islands claimed by Beijing.