Gran Alegria and Resistencia Lead Sunday's Victoria Mile in Japan for Automatic Berth into Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf
Photo of Gran Alegria courtesy of Japan Racing Association
TOKYO (May 14, 2021) ― Sunday Racing’s four-time Group 1-winning 5-year-old mare Gran Alegria (JPN) and U Carrot Farm’s 4-year-old filly Resistencia (JPN) headline the 1-mile, US$2.1 million Victoria Mile (G1) at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday, May 16, for an automatic berth into the $2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California on Nov. 5-6.
The Victoria Mile will be televised live on TVG at 11:40 p.m. PT on Saturday, May 15.
As part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the Victoria Mile winner to start in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a minimum travel allowance of US$40,000 for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of Oct. 25 to receive the rewards.
Leading a field of 18 runners, Gran Alegria, a bay daughter of Deep Impact (JPN) out of the Tapit mare Tapitsfly, has won seven of 11 starts for trainer Kazuo Fujisawa. The 2020 season was her finest, punctuated by three Group 1 wins. Perhaps her greatest triumph came against open company in last year’s 1-mile Yasuda Kinen (G1) at Tokyo, a “Win and You’re In” for the $2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), in which she defeated brilliant mare Almond Eye (JPN) by 2 ½ lengths.
Two more Group 1 wins would follow. On Oct. 4, Gran Alegria won the 6-furlong Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama by two lengths. She came back to win again at Hanshin on Nov. 22, closing stoutly to capture the Mile Championship by three-quarters of a length. In 2019, Gran Alegria won the Group 1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas).
Gran Alegria, bred by Northern Farm, debuted this year in the 1 ¼-mile Osaka Hai at Hanshin on April 4 over a yielding course, finishing fourth. “She did pretty well last time and it was probably just the ground that defeated her, which was a pity,” assistant trainer Daisuke Tsumagari said to JRA.com. “She’s been able to have a rest at the farm, and came back to the stable at Miho on April 28. It gives us ample time to get her tuned up for this race.” Gran Alegria will break from post six under jockey Christophe Lemaire.
Another runner bred by Northern Farm is Resistencia, a bay daughter of Daiwa Major (JPN), who has won four of nine starts and has been out of the money just once in her career. Trained by Takeshi Matsushita and ridden from post 18 by Yutaka Take, Resistencia comes into the race off a second-place finish in the 6-furlong Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1) at Chukyo on March 28, fighting Danon Smash (JPN) to the wire over a yielding course and losing by just a neck.
One start prior, Resistencia won the 7-furlong Hankyu Hai (G3) on Feb. 28 at Hanshin by two lengths. Last May, she finished second in the 1-mile NHK Mile Cup (G1). “She ran a good race last time when you consider the wide draw, the going, and the fact that it was a Grade 1 over just 1,200 meters,” said Matsushita. “She’s been able to freshen up at the farm, and has come back looking well and is in good shape, so her training should be fine from now.”
Silk Racing’s 4-year-old Terzetto (JPN) is on a roll, reeling off four consecutive wins ahead of Sunday’s race. Trained by Shoichiro Wada, the bay daughter of Deep Impact captured her first Group stakes event last time out, taking the 1-mile Lord Derby Challenge Trophy (G3) on April 3 at Nakayama. Swinging wide off the far turn, she steadily worked her way from 10th place to win by a length. Terzetto also won two previous races in January at 1 mile over the Tokyo course. Terzetto starts from post nine under Mirco Demuro.
Danox Co’s 5-year-old Group 1 winner Danon Fantasy (JPN) is looking to rebound off two defeats thus far in 2021. Trained by Mitsumasa Nakauchida, Danon Fantasy fifth in last year’s Victoria Mile, won the 7-furlong Hanshin Cup (G2) on Dec. 26, but finished fifth behind Resistencia as the 3-1 second choice in the Hanku Hai at Hanshin. She fared worse in her next start, the Takamatsunomiya Kinen, finishing 12th of 18 runners. As a 2-year-old, Danon Fantasy won the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies. Yusuke Fujioka has the mount breaking from post 11.
Shadai Race Horse Co. has entered homebreds Des Ailes (JPN) and Magic Castle (JPN), two 4-year-old fillies by Deep Impact. Both runners are coming back from the 1-mile Sankeisports Hai Hanshin Himba Stakes (G2) at Hanshin on April 10, where Des Ailes closed with a rush to catch Magic Castle at the wire by a neck. Trained by Yasuo Tomomichi and ridden from post five by Yuga Kawada, Des Ailes, who is four of seven, also won her previous start, the 1 1/8-mile Hatsune Stakes at Tokyo on Feb. 14, by one length. After a stretch of four off-the-board finishes, Magic Castle returned to form in the fall 2020 with a second-place finish in the 1 ¼-mile Shuka Sho (G1) at Kyoto on Oct. 18. Trained by Sakae Kunieda, Magic Castle began this year on Jan. 6 with a neck victory in the 1 1 ¼-mile Aichi Hai (G3) at Chukyo. Kunieda trained Almond Eye to victory in last year’s race. Breaking from the rail, Magic Castle will be ridden by Keita Tosaki.
The runner-up in the 2020 Victoria Mile was Yuichi Masuda’s Sound Chiara. A 6-year-old by Deep Impact, Sound Chiara is trained by Akio Adachi and will be ridden by Kohei Matsuyama from post 12. A seven-time winner, Sound Chiara finished fourth in the Hanshin Cup last December, and in his lone start this year, finished sixth in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen.
ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP
The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.
The 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 5-6 at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media.
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