It’s the second jewel of the fillies triple tiara in Japan, The Yushun Himba or Japanese Oaks. Media darling and unicorn Sodashi returns to the track after a breathtaking performance in the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 guineas).
Can she stay undefeated, do fairytales still exist? We shall see!
Race 11 – The Japanese Oaks – 3yo Fillies – 1 1/2 Turf – 2:40 am ET/11:40 pm PT
7 – Akaitorino Musume – A homebred of regal proportions, by a triple crown winner (Deep Impact) out of a triple tiara winner (Apapane). She returns back to her favourite track where she’s a perfect 3 for 3. Ran into buzzsaw Sodashi in her last start, the G1 Oka Sho where she ran a respectable 4th that day. Her last three furlongs were run in a quick 33.9 seconds so it shows she does have a turn of foot. I feel the extended distance today can allow her to relax, get in a nice rhythm and have her best effort when called upon. She has a bit of early foot so think she’ll be sitting in 4th or 5th and will get first run on the closers. Love that she’s picked up Lemaire (won this race twice) for her first distance try. Think we see the best of her today.
9 – Uberleben – Her name means survivor in German and she’s certainly gone to war with her competition. Her main issue however has been a phobia of winning, finishing 3rd in each of her last three starts (including a closing 3rd to Sodashi as a 2yo in the G1 Hanshin Juv. Fillies). She was closing strongly in her last start, just missing the win but should appreciate the added distance (her 3/4 brother excelled at longer distances). Mirco Demuro has been aboard for two of her better efforts and hops back aboard today. If he times her run just right I think she will have a big say.
1 – Kukuna – Daughter of King Kamehameha looking for revenge for her mother who finished 2nd in her Oka Sho then 3rd in the Oaks. Has been following a similar form cycle to that of our top choice, loosing to her in a 1 mile G3 in February. She does possess many form references through her running lines including a solid 2nd to Sodashi as a 2yo. Really not sure what happened in the Oka Sho as she was shuffled back at the start, spotting the field five plus lengths then making a determined run after traffic trouble. She never really got clear until late so hoping young phenom Yokoyama can work out a trip today. Inside posts have done really well in the Oaks so hoping that will aid her journey today. Ignore at your peril.
11 – Sodashi – The white unicorn returns after a scintilating performance in the Oka Sho. She’s still unbeaten and set a stakes record last time out of 1:31.1!!. She’s the modern day version of Silver Charm, not backing down from a fight and knowing where the wire is. The draw didn’t really help her with the run to the first turn but think her tactical speed will help. There are very few holes in her armour but the one glaring one is her pedigree. Her sire and her mom and her foals have done their best at distances up to a mile and a quarter. While her connections say no issue to the distance my wallet says no thank you to her price. I think the fairytale may end today but the unicorn will still make her presence felt.
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