Just a Way
, the world's top-rated racehorse, just edged former Japanese champion Grand Prix Boss
after a furious battle in the final 100 meters to win Yasuda Kinen (Jpn-I) June 8 at Tokyo Racecourse.
Just a Way thrust out his nose for jockey Yoshitomi Shibata to prevail while notching a fourth consecutive group win. He was making his first start in Japan since capturing the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) by a dominant 6 1/4 lengths March 29 at Meydan.
A 5-year-old son of Heart's Cry trained by Naosuke Sugai for owner Akatsuki Yamatoya, Just a Way was timed in 1:36.08 for 1,600 meters (about one mile). The race was run over soft turf after days of heavy rain, but the winner handled the less than ideal ground conditions well.
While recent NHK Mile (Jpn-I) victor Mikki Isle set the pace, Shibata, substituting for suspended regular jockey Yuichi Fukunaga, settled Just a Way midpack in between Grandezza and Grand Prix Boss up to the final turn.
Mikki Isle led into the stretch and was soon engaged by Hong Kong shipper Glorious Days and Danon Shark. Glorious Days asserted himself to lead briefly. But Grand Prix Boss and Just a Way burst through the pack and separated themselves from the pack, with Just a Way all out for the close win after the thrilling late duel.
Grand Prix Boss, the 2011 NHK Mile Cup winner, was three lengths clear of third-place finisher Shonan Mighty who raced near the back of the 17-horse field, found an opening on the rail for the drive and overhauled fourth-place finisher Danon Shark.
Just a Way improved his record to 6-5-1 from 19 career starts. Prior to his win in the Dubai Duty Free, he captured the Nakayana Kinen (Jpn-II) March 2 and the Tenno Sho (Autumn) Oct 27. He was deemed the world's top racehorse with a 130 rating in the second edition of the Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings, released in April. The rankings are published by the International Federation of Horseracing Authorities.
Including the May 25 Yushun Himba (Jpn-I, Japanese Oaks) winner Nuovo Record and the June 1 Tokyo Yushun (Jpn-I, Japanese Derby) victor One and Only, offspring of Heart's Cry have won three group I races in as many weeks. The 13-year-old son of Sunday Silence stands at Shadai Stallion Station in Hokkaido.
Just a Way was bought for $135,396 from consignor Shiraoi Farm at the 2010 JRHA select yearling sale. He was bred by Shadai Corp. out of the Wild Again mare Sibyl and is a half brother to group III-placed Sky No Dan. Second dam Charon won the 1990 Coaching Club American Oaks (gr. I) and finished second to the season's eventual champion 3-year-old filly Go for Wand in three other group I events that year.