Photo/Illutration Contrail, with jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, wins the Japanese Derby held behind closed doors at the Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu on May 31. (Kazuhiro Nagashima)

The usually boisterous Japanese Derby in Tokyo was held behind closed doors on May 31 for the first time in 76 years to prevent a resurgence in novel coronavirus infections.

Contrail, a top favorite, ridden by jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, won the 87th Japanese Derby for 3-year-olds at the Tokyo Racecourse in Fuchu on the outskirts of the capital.

The last time the race was held without any spectators was in 1944, during World War II.

The Tokyo Racecourse attracted 190,000 spectators when the Japanese Derby, a Grade 1 race, was held in 1990.

However, the Japan Racing Association has held all of its races without spectators since Feb. 29, following the outbreak of the novel coronavirus.

Although the state of emergency has been lifted for Tokyo, race organizers decided to take a cautious approach for the May 31 event.

Betting tickets were sold over the phone and online, generating 23,353,902,100 yen ($218 million) in sales, down 7.7 percent from last year.