Kentucky-bred Lemon Pop made his Grade 1 debut a winning one, taking down the top prize in the $1.73 million February S. (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan on Feb. 19. Lemon Pop’s impressive win made it four consecutive years that the G1 race has been won by a Kentucky-bred, following Mozu Ascot’s win in 2020 and Café Pharoah’s back-to-back scores in 2021-22.

Lemon Pop, sent off as the race favorite, stormed to the lead in the stretch, closing from fifth in a field of 16. He hit the front with seemingly plenty left and finished strongly to defeat Red le Zele by 1 ½ lengths at the finish. The February S. is a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1), giving Lemon Pop an automatic berth in the Classic, which will be run at Santa Anita on Nov. 4.

Unbeaten in two starts this season after annexing the Negishi S. (G3) at Tokyo on Jan. 29, Lemon Pop has now won eight of 11 lifetime starts and boasts career earnings of more than $2.2 million. Bred in the Bluegrass, Lemon Pop is a son of Lemon Drop Kid and is produced from the Giant’s Causeway mare Unreachable. He is owned by Godolphin, was bred by Mr. and Mrs. Oliver Tait, and was a $70,000 Keeneland November Sale graduate in 2018.