Harp Star completed an eye-catching last to first rally in the Oka Sho (Jpn, I, Japanese One Thousand Guineas), a stylish victory that kicked off the classic season in Japan April 13 at Hanshin Racecourse.
Joie de Vivre, half sister to multiple grade I winner Buena Vista, claimed her first grade I title in the $1.5 million Hanshin Juvenile Fillies.
Buena Vista, disqualified from first to second for interference in last year's Japan Cup (Jpn-I), found no such problems this year. The 5-year-old mare surged late to win the $6.1 million event Nov. 27 at Tokyo Racecourse.
Marcellina used a strong closing kick to capture the $2.1 million Oka Sho (Jpn-I), the Japanese equivalent of the English One Thousand Guineas held at Hanshin Racecourse April 10.
A lengthy inquiry resulted in disqualification of the winner of the $5.8 million Japan Cup (Jpn-I) on Nov. 28 when favored Buena Vista was moved down to second and Rose Kingdom was declared the winner.
In what trainer Hiroyoshi Matsuda called her "best race ever" favored Buena Vista scored a two-length win in the Tenno Sho (Autumn). The 142nd running of the
Favored Buena Vista used her stupendous kick to slip past Hikaru Amaranthus approaching the wire, registering a neck victory in the $2.1 million Victoria Mile (Jpn-I) at Tokyo Racecourse May 16.
Heavy favorite Buena Vista collared second choice Red Desire with 100 meters to run and went on to capture the US$2.1 million Oka Sho (Japanese One Thousand Guineas) by a half-length for the second grade I victory of her career April 12 at Hanshin Racecourse.
Admire Moon took the lead at the top of the stretch, and then hung on bravely while three rivals challenged from his outside, taking the $4.6-million Japan Cup (Jpn-I) by a head on Nov. 25 at Tokyo Racecourse.
International traveler Admire Moon earned his first group I victory on Japanese soil Sunday when he defeated an outstanding field in the 48th Takarazuka Kinen by a half-length at Hanshin Race Course.
Japan had a strong hand going into the US$5million Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) and it was their Admire Moon, ridden by Japanese icon Yutaka Take, who landed the spoils in scintillating fashion.
Deep Impact collected 287 of a possible 289 (97.9%) total votes in winning the 2006 Japanese Racing Association's Horse of the Year Award for the second year in a row.
Admire Don emerged as Japan's champion 2-year-old colt with a three-quarter-length win of the 1,600-meter Asahi Hai Futurity Stakes (Jpn-I) at Nakayama Racecourse on Dec. 9. Unbeaten in his previous two starts, the son of Timber Country went postward a strong favorite in the 16-horse field of classic hopefuls for 2002.
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