Meisho Mambo wore down tiring front-runner Sekisho with a ground-gobbling outside rally and captured the Shuka Sho (Jpn-I), the final jewel in Japan's Triple Crown for fillies, Oct. 13 at Kyoto.
Owner-breeder Yoshio Matsumoto's Suzuka Mambo filly scooted clear nearing the finish line to post a 1 1/4-length triumph and add a second jewel in the crown to her record after winning the Yushun Himba (Jpn-I, Japanese Oaks) in May.
Ayusan, winner of the first race in the series, the Oka Sho (Jpn-I, Japanese One Thousand Guineas), missed the race with a leg injury.
Starting from challenging post 16 in the 18-horse field, Meisho Mambo had a wide trip throughout under Koshiro Take. She settled in midfield behind a fast pace set by Venus Trick, who was tracked about five lengths back by Sekisho.
With Venus Trick weakening on the home turn and fading out of contention, Sekisho took charge entering the stretch and set sail for the finish line. Meisho Mambo was just winding up a powerful outside rally, however, and steadily reeled in Sekisho, overtaking that rival in the final 50 yards.
Meisho Mambo cruised clear to the classic win over Smart Layer, who in a three-way battle for the runner-up spot quickened smartly past Sekisho to deny 7-2 second favorite Lilas Corsage by a head,. The 3-1 favorite, Denim and Ruby, finished a scant nose back in fourth.
Smart Layer was ridden by Take's famous older brother, champion jockey Yutake Take.
Interestingly, the Shuka Sho marks the second time this season that brothers have posted a one-two finish in a group I race in Japan, following the Demuro brothers, who took the first two places in the Oka Sho. Cristian held off big brother Mirco to win the Oka Sho on Ayusan while Mirco's mount, Red Oval, checked in second.
The 5-1 third favorite, Meisho Mambo covered the Shuka Sho's 2,000 meters (about 1 1/4 miles) in a swift 1:58.60, just off the stakes record time of 1:58.10 set in 1996 by Fabulous La Fouine.
Trained by Akihiro Iida, Meisho Mambo has five wins and a second from nine career starts. Following her Japanese Oaks win over Ever Blossom and Denim and Ruby, she got four months off. In her first start back for the fall season, she finished fourth to Denim and Ruby in the Kansai Telecasting Corp. Sho Rose Stakes (Jpn-II), but she was the better horse on the day in the Shuka Sho.
Matsumoto bred Meisho Mambo out of the Grass Wonder mare Meisho Momoka. Sire Suzuka Mambo, a 12-year-old son of Sunday Silence, stands at Arrow Stud in Hokkaido.