One and Only Bests Favorite in Japanese Derby
One and Only gamely battled favorite Isla Bonita for a close win in the Yunshun Himba (Jpn-I, Japanese Derby) June 1 before a crowd of nearly 140,000 at Tokyo Racecourse.
Fourth behind Isla Bonita in the Satsuki Sho (Jpn-I, Japanese Two Thousand Guineas) last time out, One and Only uncoiled a powerful rally in the stretch after driving between rivals to prevail by three-quarters of a length with Norihiro Yokoyama aboard.
One and Only, a son of 2004 Japanese Derby runner-up Heart's Cry, is a homebred racing for Koji Maeda. His victory was the first in the race for trainer Kojiro Hashiguchi, who was making his 18th attempt to win the classic after finishing second four times previously. Yokoyama enjoyed a second Derby win following his victory aboard Logi Universe in 2009.
One and Only, the 5-1 third favorite, raced closer to the pace than usual, settling in sixth among the 17-horse field early before completing 2,400 meters (about 1 1/2 miles) in 2:24.06 on firm turf. Isla Bonita, the 2-1 favorite off his 1 1/4-length win in the Guineas, held second by 1 1/2 lengths, with Meiner Frost getting third after a rail-hugging trip just behind One and Only.
Produced from the winning Taiki Shuttle mare Virtue, One and Only was second to highly regarded To the World in the Yayoi Sho (Jpn-II) in his season debut in March. He concluded 2013 with a win in Hai Nisai (Jpn-III) in December at Hanshin. He has three wins and three seconds from nine career starts.
Fast from the two hole in the Japanese Derby, One and Only traveled along the rail while keeping aim on Isla Bonita, who was in third behind Tosen Stardom as Ekimae led the field by more than five lengths.
Yokoyama skillfully guided One and Only through traffic at the top of the homestretch and the colt surged out right behind Isla Bonita, who rallied strongly from second. The two engaged from the 200-meter mark, with One and Only gaining a slight advantage 100 meters out and holding on for the win.
Yokayama said the pace was slow early, and, though One and Only was keen to race, he stretched well.
"The trainer and his staff conditioned him perfectly for the Derby," the jockey said. "He was unable to make a good start in the previous race but he broke well today and I was able to race him in striking position. He is still immature compared to his sire, but he was able to win the Derby and I hope that he will continue to develop steadily."
Hashiguchi won the 2006 Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I) with sire Heart's Cry, but said capturing the long-sought Derby was an incomparable experience.
"I am overwhelmed with joy that I can't feel my feet on the ground," he said. "I didn't feel so happy when I won the Dubai Sheema Classic with Heart's Cry in 2006. (The) Derby is indeed a special race."
To the World, the 3-1 second choice, and champion filly Red Redveur finished fifth and 12th, respectively.
Completing the order of finish were Tagano Grandpa, To the World, Shonan Lagoon, Admire Deus, Bell Canyon, Suzuka Devious, World Impact, Sounds of Earth, Red Reveur, Hagino Hybrid, Satono Lupin, Azuma Shuttle, and Tosen Stardom. Ekimae pulled up with lameness in his right hind leg and did not finish.
Win Full Bloom was scratched.
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