2015 News

April 12, 2015


Let's Go Donki Romps to Impressive Victory in the Oka Sho
Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) (G1)

Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) (G1)

Fifth favorite Let’s Go Donki coasted to a gate-to-wire victory claiming her first graded race in the first leg of the fillies’ Triple Crown, the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas). She had registered a third and a second in the Sapporo Nisai Stakes (G3, 1,800m) and the Artemis Stakes (G3, 1,600m), respectively, after breaking her maiden in her debut start in August. The King Kamehameha filly finished a 1/2-length second from Shonan Adela in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1, 1,600m) last December, the race to determine the Best Two-Year-Old Filly, but had launched the current season with a third in the Tulip Sho (G3, 1,600m) this March.

For Trainer Tomoyuki Umeda, who captured the Australian Caulfield Cup with Admire Rakti last season, this is his first G1 title on home turf. Jockey Yasunari Iwata celebrates his 24th JRA-G1 victory and second Oka Sho title after claiming it with Gentildonna in 2012.

As the race got on its way, Let’s Go Donki smoothly zoomed to the top of the field and maintained her one to one-and-a-half length lead up to the last turn with Not Formal and Earthrise pressing the pace. The chestnut filly amazingly did nothing but increase her lead down the Hanshin stretch after entering the lane first and left the others trailing way behind as she cruised across the wire a four-length winner.

“I was hoping to race keeping my eyes on the fillies inside us, but no one was taking command so I let my filly go up front. It was a good move because she was able to travel at an easy pace. The going was good and she just stretched well after saving energy in the first half of the race. She’s been winless after breaking her maiden and had very close finishes since, so I’m glad she was able to demonstrate her true strength,” commented Yasunari Iwata.

After a slightly slow start, seventh favorite Culminar sat in the back half of the pack on the rails in front of Rouge Buck, and although still fifth to sixth from the rear at the top of the lane, demonstrated a strong and persistent stretch run picking off the others one by one for the runner-up seat.

Reserved in mid-pack after breaking smoothly, Contessa Thule squeezed through an opening on the rails and fought well but surrendered the runner-up seat to Culminar in the last 50 meters for a 3/4 length third. For jockey Christophe Lemaire, it was his first G1 start after becoming the first foreign jockey to be granted a permanent JRA jockey license along with Mirco Demuro, who boarded Queens Ring and finished fourth.

Racing fourth from the rear, the heavily favored and unbeaten filly Rouge Buck improved position down the straight but was unable to reach contention and finished ninth.

Other Horses:
4th: (13) Queens Ring—traveled wide in mid-pack, quickened despite disadvantage at last 200m
5th: (3) Not Formal—ran near pace, held well until last 100m
6th: (9) Andriette—settled in rear division, quickened and timed fastest over last 3 furlongs but was too late
7th: (11) Cat Coin—sat 2nd from last, turned wide and checked at early stretch, showed belated charge
8th: (10) Earthrise—prominent early, showed tenacity but outrun in final strides
10th: (15) Kokorono Ai—sat toward rear, turned wide and switched to left at top of stretch, passed tired rivals
11th: (17) Leopardina—raced wide in 5-6th, sustained bid but checked 200m out, lost momentum
12th: (14) Tenderly Voice—traveled in mid-group, ran gamely until 200m-marker, weakened thereafter
13th: (5) Perfica—hugged rail in mid-pack, maintained bid but bumped Queens Ring 200m out
14th: (2) Moon Express—stalked winner in 2nd, ran out of steam in last 200m
15th: (12) Loaded—broke poorly, advanced to 8th, faded after last 300m-pole
16th: (16) Meisho Meigetsu—ran toward rear, made headway around 3rd corner, failed to respond at stretch
17th: (4) Tosen Lark—raced front in mid-division, no impression at stretch
18th: (18) Cool Hotarubi—trailed in rear, no factor

THE 75TH OKA SHO (Japanese 1000 Guineas, G1)
3-year-old Fillies, 1,600 meters (about 8 furlongs), turf, right-handed
Sunday, April 12, 2015    Hanshin Racecourse      11th Race      Post time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 184,920,000 (about US$ 1,541,000 <US$1=¥120>)
3-y-o: 55kg (about 121 lbs), 2kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2012
Safety factor: 18 runners

FP BK PP Horse Sex
1 3 6 Let's Go Donki
F3 55.0 King Kamehameha
Y. Iwata
T. Umeda
Toshihiro Hirosaki
Shimizu Bokujo
2 4 7 Culminar
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
K. Ikezoe
N. Sugai
U. Carrot Farm
Northern Farm
3 1 1 Contessa Thule
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
Air Thule
C. Lemaire
T. Yasuda
Shadai Race Horse Co., Ltd.
Shadai Farm
4 7 13 Queens Ring
F3 55.0 Manhattan Cafe
Aqua Ring
M. Demuro
K. Yoshimura
Tetsuya Yoshida
Shadai Farm
5 2 3 Not Formal
F3 55.0 Vermilion
Limiter Break
H. Mayuzumi
E. Nakano
Katsuya Haga
Chiyoda Farm Shizunai
6 5 9 Andriette
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
Unabashed Charm
Y. Kawada
K. Makita
Kazuhiko Nagata
Morinaga Bokujo
7 6 11 Cat Coin
F3 55.0 Stay Gold
Stray Cat
Y. Shibata
Y. Ninomiya
Sunday Racing Co., Ltd.
Shadai Corporation Inc.
8 5 10 Earthrise
F3 55.0 Manhattan Cafe
Rising Cross
H. Miyuki
Y. Yahagi
Katsumi Yoshida
Northern Racing
9 4 8 Rouge Buck
F3 55.0 Manhattan Cafe
Ginger Punch
K. Tosaki
M. Otake
U. Carrot Farm
Northern Farm
10 7 15 Kokorono Ai
F3 55.0 Stay Gold
Beauty Song
N. Yokoyama
T. Ozeki
Sakai B.
Sakai Bokujo
11 8 17 Leopardina
F3 55.0 Snitzel
Biondo Pantera
Y. Take
Y. Takahashi
U. Carrot Farm
Northern Racing
12 7 14 Tenderly Voice
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
Miss Encore
Y. Fukunaga
K. Hagiwara
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd.
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc.
13 3 5 Perfica
F3 55.0 Zenno Rob Roy
Stealin' Kisses
Y. Hishida
I. Okada
Koji Maeda
North Hills Co,. Ltd.
14 1 2 Moon Express
F3 55.0 Admire Moon
Amore Pegasus
K. Matsuyama
T. Suzuki
Laurel Racing Co,. Ltd.
Saka Bokujo
15 6 12 Loaded
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
Hokko Oka
S. Kawashima
Y. Arakawa
Him Rock Racing
Keiichi Samekawa
16 8 16 Meisho Meigetsu
F3 55.0 Deep Impact
Y. Yoshida
F. Kojima
Yoshio Matsumoto
Mishima Bokujo
17 2 4 Tosen Lark
F3 55.0 Aldebaran
Takeichi Z
H. Yoshida
Y. Sugawara
Takaya Shimakawa
Nakagami Farm
18 8 18 Cool Hotarubi
F3 55.0 Matsurida Gogh
F. Komaki
H. Shimizu
Tetsuji Kawakami
Hatakeyama Stud Farm
FP=Final Position / BK=Bracket Number / PP=Post Position / 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 RACE ALONE: ¥16,090,539,800  
TURNOVER FOR THE DAY: ¥23,998,557,000 ATTENDANCE: 54,635

PAY-OFF (for ¥100)
WIN No.6 ¥1,020 BRACKET QUINELLA 3-4 ¥740 QUINELLA 6-7 ¥7,860
PLACE No.6 ¥260 QUINELLA PLACE 6-7 ¥2,030 EXACTA 6-7 ¥17,370
No.7 ¥610 1-6 ¥2,260 TRIO 1-6-7 ¥34,480
No.1 ¥750 1-7 ¥3,910 TRIFECTA 6-7-1 ¥233,390
  1. Let’s Go Donki (JPN), chestnut, filly, 3-year-old
    King Kamehameha / Marutoku (Marvelous Sunday)
    Breeder: Shimizu Bokujo Owner: Toshihiro Hirosaki
    Trainer: Tomoyuki Umeda Jockey: Yasunari Iwata
    6 Starts, 2 Wins
    Added money: ¥116,230,000 Career earnings: ¥176,935,000
    Principal Race Performances: ’14 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1, 1,600m)    2nd

  2. Culminar (JPN), bay, filly, 3-year-old
    Deep Impact / Cursora (Candy Stripes)
    Breeder: Northern Farm Owner: U. Carrot Farm
    Trainer: Naosuke Sugai Jockey: Kenichi Ikezoe

  3. Contessa Thule (JPN), bay, filly, 3-year-old
    Deep Impact / Air Thule (Tony Bin)
    Breeder: Shadai Farm Owner: Shadai Race Horse Co., Ltd.
    Trainer: Takayuki Yasuda Jockey: Christophe Lemaire
Fractional Time (sec./furlong):12.7 - 11.7 - 12.7 - 12.9 - 12.5 - 11.3 - 10.7 - 11.5
Last 4 furlongs: 46.0          Last 3 furlongs: 33.5

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

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.

* Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) (G1)
The Oka Sho, which is the first of the five JRA Classics held during the year, determines the champion three-year-old filly possessing the fastest speed running over 1,600 meters and serves as an opportunity to scout potential broodmare talents. The Japanese equivalent to the One Thousand Guineas originated in England, the Oka Sho was first held at Nakayama Racecourse in Chiba, run over 1,800 meters and under the name “Nakayama Yonsai Himba Tokubetsu”, then changed its distance and venue under the new name, “Oka Sho” (Oka, meaning cherry flower which is in full bloom at this time of the season). With the entire graded races opening its doors to foreign-trained horses in 2010, the three-year-old Classics including this race entered a new phase with international G1 status. While speed is a much required ability to win this race, the extension of the homestretch as well as a deeper turf surface and an uphill stretch at Hanshin after the track renovation in 1991 has added “stamina” as an added qualification—a newly added outside turf track further extended the homestretch in 2006.

The Oka Sho, together with the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks, G1, 2,400m) and the Shuka Sho (G1, 2,000m), is also widely considered as the fillies’ version of the “Triple Crown”, a title which has been claimed by four fillies in the past, including Apapane (JPN, by King Kamehameha) who renewed the race record to 1:33.3 in her victory in the race of 2010, and Gentildonna (JPN, by Deep Impact) who completed the sweep in 2012 and went on to capture the Japan Cup (G1, 2,400m) in 2012 and 2013 and Horse of the Year title in 2012 and 2014. Last year’s victor Harp Star (JPN, by Deep Impact) also concluded the season achieving the Best Three-Year-Old Filly title.

With 2014 Best Two-Year-Old Filly Shonan Adela (JPN, by Deep Impact) sidelined due to a fracture, runner-up to the injured filly in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1, 1,600m) last December by half-a-length, Let’s Go Donki was among the line-up after finishing third in the March 7 Tulip Sho (G3, 1,600m) along with Kokorono Ai, who marked her second grade-race win by claiming the same prep race, and runner-up by 1-1/4 length, Andriette. The field also featured the top three finishers in the March 15 Fillies’ Revue (G2, 1,400m); Queens Ring, who marked her third win and undefeated, Perfica, a 3/4 length runner-up, and Moon Express who was another half-length from that in third. Tenderly Voice and Meisho Meigetsu earned their tickets by finishing first and second, respectively, in the Anemone Stakes (1,600m) on March 14.

Others strong contenders who did not prep in the above mentioned trial races were Rouge Buck, who claimed her third consecutive win against the other gender in the Kisaragi Sho (G3, 1,800m) on February 8, and victor of the February 14 Queen Cup (G3, 1,600m) Cat Coin.

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