A new star has stepped into the spotlight for Japan. Stealing hearts and causing racing veterans to shake their heads in admiring disbelief, Irish-bred Fine Motion romped away Oct. 13 in Kyoto with a 3 1/2-length, race-record-tying win of the Shukasho (Jpn-I), the final leg of the triple crown for fillies.
The undefeated half-sister to English champ Pilsudski extended her wins to five with her first run grade I event and boosted her average total winning margin to over four lengths.
Despite the gathering of 18 of some of Japan's best 3-year-old fillies, it was simply no contest. And the fans knew it. Over 70% of all bets to win were made on Fine Motion.
Following a smooth start Fine Motion settled easily into fifth position with Yutaka Take aboard. Wanting to steer clear of traffic and confident in his filly's strength, Take took Fine Motion four wide around the final bend. With only a shake of the reins, the 3-year-old bay slipped to the front, broke free of the field with 200 meters to go and continued to widen her margin to the wire.
"She's a horse that actually makes you feel good to ride," Take said after the race. "There's not many horses like her out there. Riding her is just heaven."
"She's in a class of her own," was trainer Yuji Ito's comment before the race.
Rose Stakes runner-up and Shukasho third choice Sakura Victoria put in an impressive drive that took her past seventh pick Serious Bio in the final four strides for a second-place finish. Serious Bio crossed the finish line a neck later with Kanetoshi Desire in fourth another length back. Fine Motion's time over the 2,000 meters of turf was 1:58.10.
By Danehill, Fine Motion is owned by Tatsuo Fushikida and was bred by Barronstown Stud and Orpendale in Ireland. The ¥89 million winner's share of the Shukasho brought the bay filly's accumulated prize money to over ¥174 million.