Oka Sho Is First Japanese Classic of 2020
Photo Copyright Eclipse Sportswire
By Emily Shields for TVG
The $2.1 million Oka Sho (G1) will kick of the Japanese Fillies Triple Crown in Japan this weekend. It takes place Sunday, April 12 at Hanshin Racecourse in Japan, which is the evening of April 11 in the United States. In recent years, the 1600 meter (about one mile) race has produced winners such as Almond Eye, Gentildonna, and Buena Vista. A field of 18 has been drawn.
Ria Amelia will be known to American racing fans, as her dam Ria Antonia was placed first in the 2013 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies (G1) after the disqualification of She’s a Tiger. Ria Amelia won her first two starts, both over this distance, but then ran sixth in the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies here in December. Yuga Kawada will ride the daughter of Deep Impact.
Resistencia was named Japan’s top Two Year Old Filly unanimously. She was unbeaten in three starts in 2019, then ran third in the Tulip Sho (G2) here on March 7 for her 2020 bow. She was just a nose behind second place. Yutaka Take will ride; he has won the Oka Sho five times.
Maltese Diosa is the filly that defeated Resistencia in the Tulip Sho. She has won three of her five starts, with two second place efforts. The daughter of Kizuna was second behind Resistencia last year, and has run over this distance in all five starts.
Sandwiched between Maltese Diosa and Resistencia in the finish of the Tulip Sho was Cravache d’Or. The daughter of Heart’s Cry is still seeking her first stakes win after breaking her maiden over this trip in September. She has been top three in all her graded stakes attempts, and only missed by a nose last out. Her dam, Path of Dreams, is from the female family of Breeders’ Cup Distaff (G1) heroine Spain.
Daring Tact, by Epiphaneia, has only run twice but is unbeaten. She took the Elfin Stakes at Kyoto in February, but has to buck a trend of horses not winning the Oka Sho with only two starts. The last horse to do it was Hagino Top Lady in 1980.
Miyamazakura and Magic Castle ran one-two in the Daily Hai Queen Cup (G3) at Tokyo on February 15, with Miyamazakura scoring by a neck. Both fillies are by the late Triple Crown hero Deep Impact.
The Japanese Fillies Triple Crown has been won five times, including by Almond Eye and Gentildonna. Grade 1 action from Japan is broadcast live on TVG year-round.
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