2018 News

May 20, 2018


Race Favorite Almond Eye Eyes Fillies' Triple with Yushun Himba Victory
Victoria Mile (G1)

Victoria Mile (G1)

Sent to post as an overwhelming favorite after a strong performance in the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), Almond Eye did not disappoint as she never put a foot wrong throughout the 2,400-meter trip and became the first filly since Gentildonna (2012) and 14th overall to claim the Oka Sho-Yushun Himba double with a chance to become the fifth to claim the season’s G1 triple for three-year-old fillies. Her winning time was 2:23.8, just 0.2 seconds short of the record held by Gentildonna. Trainer Sakae Kunieda landed his 13th career JRA-G1 title—the last being the Oka Sho with the Lord Kanaloa filly—and his second Yushun Himba title after saddling subsequent triple-crown (fillies’) winner Apapane to victory in 2010. Jockey Christophe Lemaire had a lot to celebrate, winning his 16th JRA-G1 title on his 39th birthday. Lemaire also claimed his second consecutive Yushun Himba title after his victory last year with Soul Stirring.

Almond Eye was given a perfect ride by Christophe Lemaire, starting from stall 13, coincidentally the same barrier as in the Oka Sho in which they scored their first G1 victory in the race. Nicely rated from a good break among the front group around sixth, Almond Eye traveled smoothly just off the rails with Lily Noble and Lucky Lilac in close view behind Sayakachan who sprinted out for a clear lead while setting a brisk pace over the 2,400 meter course. Already positioned in a good striking distance after not having to angle out too far coming into the homestretch, the Oka Sho victor had plenty of fuel to climb the uphill stretch where she gained command and continued to increase her stride for the remaining 250 meters without a serious threat from behind to score a two-length victory.

“I had every confidence in her and race went perfectly for us. She was a little hyped up but we had a good start and in a good position. From there she settled in well and her turn of foot in the home straight was terrific. The stretch in distance (to 2,400 meters, her first) was absolutely no problem for her. She is one special filly with great potentials and fit to face international competition if she has the chance,” commented Lemaire.

Lily Noble broke sharply from stall one, eventually allowing the more eager rivals to lead the way while saving ground along the rails in third as the field stretched out to form a long line behind the pacesetter who opened the gap to almost ten lengths along the backstretch. As the field closed in on the tired leader, the Rulership filly angled out slightly after the final turn for better footing and assumed command just as the uphill stretch became too much for the early leaders but was caught by Almond Eye when the two fillies hit the top of the hill and was unable to match the increasing stride of the eventual winner while managing to hold off the rest of the field by more than a length.

Lucky Lilac jumped out of the gate and in hand along the rails close behind Lily Noble, positioned less than a length in front of the eventual winner. The Orfevre filly was given the go as Almond Eye passed her on the outside then steered to the inside of Lily Noble for the rally but was a fraction slow to pick up speed to match the front two for third.

Other Horses:
4th: (10) Red Sakuya―took economic trip in 7th, angled out, tied 2nd fastest over last 3 furlongs
5th: (3) Mau Lea―settled in 8th, found little room at early stretch, showed effort thereafter
6th: (8) Satono Walkure―ran wide around 9th, turned final corner behind winner, passed tired rivals
7th: (11) Pioneer Bio―raced around 11th, checked 300m out, failed to respond
8th: (15) Usubenino Kimi―traveled wide around 12th, lacked needed kick to reach contention
9th: (6) All for Love―saved ground around 10th, showed little at stretch
10th: (17) Rosa Glauca―unhurried in 14th, accelerated in last 200m
11th: (14) Randonnee―positioned in 2nd, distant behind pace setter, overtaken by rivals at stretch
12th: (9) Sister Flag―hugged rails in 12th, never a threat
13th: (5) Cantabile―raced in 4th in front of winner, dropped back after 400m marker
14th: (7) Toho Artemis―ran 3rd from rear, even paced at stretch
15th: (16) Win Lanakila―sat 2nd from rear, unable to reach contention
16th: (12) Sayakachan―set fast pace, faded after 300m out
17th: (18) Ohana―trailed in far rear, no factor
scratched: (4) Tosen Bless―due to a stone bruise to her left forefoot

3-year-old Fillies, 2,400 meters (about 12 furlongs), turf, left-handed
Sunday, May 20, 2018      Tokyo Racecourse        11th Race           Post Time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 238,600,000 (about US$ 2,170,000 <US$1=¥110>)
3-y-o: 55 kg (about 121 lbs), 3 kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2015
Safety factor: 18 runners

FP BK PP Horse Sex
1 7 13 Almond Eye
F3 55.0 Lord Kanaloa
Fusaichi Pandora
C. Lemaire
S. Kunieda
Silk Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Racing
2 1 1 Lily Noble
F3 55.0 Rulership
Pure Chaplet
Y. Kawada
K. Fujioka
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Farm
3 1 2 Lucky Lilac
F3 55.0 Orfevre
Lilacs and Lace
S. Ishibashi
M. Matsunaga
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Racing
4 5 10 Red Sakuya
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
Y. Fukunaga
H. Fujiwara
TokyoHorseRacing Co., Ltd
Shadai Farm
5 2 3 Mau Lea
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
Buy the Cat
Y. Take
T. Tezuka
Yukihiro Ochiai
Shimokobe Farm
6 4 8 Satono Walkure
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
Here to Win
M. Demuro
K. Sumii
Satomi Horse Company Co., Ltd.
Shimokobe Farm
7 6 11 Pioneer Bio
F3 55.0 Rulership
Animate Bio
H. Kitamura
K. Maki
Bio K.
Bio Co., Ltd.
8 7 15 Usubenino Kimi
F3 55.0 Eishin Flash
Solid Platinum
K. Miura
T. Suzuki
Koji Oka
Hashimoto Bokujo
9 3 6 All for Love
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
Lady Alba Rosa
R. Wada
M. Nakauchida
Lord Horse Club
K. I. Farm
10 8 17 Rosa Glauca
F3 55.0 Rulership
Rosa Blanca
K. Tosaki
T. Ozeki
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Northern Farm
11 7 14 Randonnee
F3 55.0 Blame
H. Uchida
K. Sumii
Kobayashi Eiichi Holdings LLC.
Winchester Farm
12 5 9 Sister Flag
F3 55.0 Rulership
Miracle Flag
Y. Iwata
M. Nishimura
Masakazu Kobayashi
Deguchi Bokujo
13 3 5 Cantabile
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
H. Tanabe
K. Sumii
Tatsue Ishikawa
Tatsue Ishikawa
14 4 7 Toho Artemis
F3 55.0 Heart’s Cry
Toho Gaia
F. Matsuwaka
K. Tani
Toho Bussan Co., Ltd.
Toho Bussan Co., Ltd.
15 8 16 Win Lanakila
F3 55.0 King Kamehameha
Cosmo Platina
T. Ono
T. Miya
Win Co., Ltd.
Cosmo View Farm
16 6 12
F3 55.0 Reach the Crown
Apple Tosho
M. Matsuoka
H. Tadokoro
Takao Seya
Mitsuo Tanagawa
17 8 18
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
K. Fujioka
N. Hori
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd.
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc.
  2 4 Tosen Bless
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
Bloomin' Bar
Y. Shibata
Y. Kato
Takaya Shimakawa
Yukihiro Moroe

FP=Final Position / BK=Bracket Number / PP=Post Position / B=Blinker / Wgt=Weight / L3F=Time of Last 3 Furlongs (600m)

Note1: No Foreign Contenders
Note2: Figures quoted under Odds are Win Odds, which show the amount of money you get back per single unit (100yen), and Fav indicates the order of favorites.

TURNOVER FOR THE DAY: ¥ 26,625,657,200 ATTENDANCE: 65,667

PAY-OFF (for ¥100)
WIN No.13 ¥170 BRACKET QUINELLA 1-7 ¥260 QUINELLA 1-13 ¥1,190
PLACE No.13 ¥110 QUINELLA PLACE 1-13 ¥370 EXACTA 13-1 ¥1,410
No.1 ¥200 2-13 ¥160 TRIO 1-2-13 ¥750
No.2 ¥120 1-2 ¥390 TRIFECTA 13-1-2 ¥3,360


  1. 1.Almond Eye (JPN), bay, filly, 3-year-old
    Lord Kanaloa / Fusaichi Pandora (Sunday Silence)
    Owner: Silk Racing Co., Ltd. Breeder: Northern Racing  
    Trainer: Sakae Kunieda Jockey: Christophe Lemaire  
    5 Starts, 4 Wins    
    Added money: ¥ 137,461,000 Career earnings: ¥ 313,419,000  

  2. 2.Lily Noble (JPN), bay, filly, 3-year-old
    Rulership / Pure Chaplet (Kurofune)
    Owner: Sunday Racing Co., Ltd. Breeder: Northern Farm
    Trainer: Kenichi Fujioka Jockey: Yuga Kawada

  3. 3.Lucky Lilac (JPN), chestnut, filly, 3-year-old
    Orfevre / Lilacs and Lace (Flower Alley)
    Owner: Sunday Racing Co., Ltd. Breeder: Northern Racing
    Trainer: Mikio Matsunaga Jockey: Shu Ishibashi
Fractional time (sec./furlong): 12.6 - 11.1 - 12.0 - 11.9 - 12.0 - 12.2 - 12.4 - 12.3 - 12.4 - 12.2 - 11.1 - 11.6
Last 4 furlongs: 47.3          Last 3 furlongs: 34.9

Positions at each corner: 1st corner 12-14,1(2,5)(10,13)3(6,8)11(9,15)-17,7-16-18
2nd corner 12=14-1-5,2,13,10(3,8)6(11,15)9,17-7-16-18
3rd corner 12=14,1(2,5)13,10(3,8)(6,11,15)9,17-7-16,18
4th corner 12-14-1,5(2,13)(10,3,8)(6,11,15)9,17(7,16)-18

Note1: Underlined bold number indicates the winning horse.
Note2: Horse numbers are indicated in the order of their positions at each corner, with the first position listed first. Two or more horses inside the same parentheses indicate that they were positioned side by side. Hyphens between the horse numbers indicate that there is distance between the former and the latter. The asterisk indicates a slight lead.


* Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) (G1)
The Japanese version of the prestigious British Oaks, the Yushun Himba was established in 1938 and contested among runners limited to home-bred three-year-old fillies. Initially called the “Hanshin Yushun Himba” and held during the fall season at Hanshin Racecourse, the race acquired its current status as the Japanese Oaks upon changing its venue to Tokyo Racecourse in 1946. The race was also shifted to the spring season, being the richest in prize money and longest in distance among the current JRA races limited to fillies/mares. The Yushun Himba opened its door to foreign-bred runners in 2003 and acquired international G1 status in 2010 and the first three finishers of this race are eligible to start in the French G1 Prix Vermeille (2,400m) beginning this year, free of charge to enter and with additional support for transportation. While the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas, G1, 1,600m) serves in gauging the speed potentials in the future broodmares, the Yushun Himba is a championship race in which to discover the added quality of stamina as well as speed, and winners of this race are highly rated as broodmares upon retirement to stud. Recent winners included fillies/mares that became high profile G1 winners. 2009 Oaks winner, Buena Vista (JPN, by Special Week) captured a total of six G1 titles and JRA’s Horse of the Year of 2010 before her retirement in the end of 2011, while 2012 winner Gentildonna (JPN, by Deep Impact), who holds the race record of 2:23.6, went on to capture the Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m) that autumn to become the fourth filly to sweep the Triple Crown for fillies. The star filly later went on to claim four G1 titles and was crowned Horse of the Year twice in 2012 and 2014. Last year’s winner Soul Stirring (JPN, by Frankel) was subsequently crowned 2017 Best Three-Year-Old Filly.
The five top finishers of the Oka Sho (Apr.8) that were automatically eligible for the Oaks were; winner Almond Eye, runner-up Lucky Lilac, third-place finisher Lily Noble, fourth-place Tosen Bless and fifth-place Mau Lea although Tosen Bless was scratched from the race due to a stone bruise to her left forefoot, sustained during training. Others that came off efforts in their Oaks trials were; Satono Walkure and Pioneer Bio who finished first and second, respectively, in the Flora Stakes (G2, 2,000m; Apr.22), as well as the Sweet Pea Stakes (1,800m; Apr.29) winner Randonnee. The field also included Cantabile, winner of the Flower Cup (G3, 1,800m; Mar.17) and All for Love, victor of the Wasurenagusa Sho (2,000m; Apr.8).

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