Joie de Vivre takes the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies.

Joie de Vivre takes the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies.

Kate Hunter

Buena Vista's Half Sister Takes Hanshin Title

Joie de Vivre follows champion's footsteps in capturing Hanshin Juvenile Fillies.

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.

Two weeks after Buena Vista won the Japan Cup (Jpn-I), the Deep Impact filly wrapped up Japan's 2-year-old filly championship. Joie de Vivre follows the path of her sister, who won the juvenile title in 2008 and became Japan's Horse of the Year in 2010.

Coming off a 1 1/2-length win in her debut race just a month ago, Joie de Vivre brought trainer Hiroyoshi Matsuda and jockey Yuichi Fukunaga consecutive triumphs in the Hanshin event, following last year’s victory with Reve d'Essor.

Sunday Racing owns the winning bay filly. Bred by Northern Racing, Joie de Vivre is out of the Caerleon mare Biwa Heidi.

Joie de Vivre, the fourth choice in the field of 18, defeated I'm Yours by 2 1/2 lengths while completing the 1,600-meter test (about one mile) in 1:34.9 on firm going. Sound of Heart, the favorite after two wins to begin to her career, was nosed out for second.

Fine Choice took the early lead, pressed by I'm Yours on the outside and Eishin Kincsem on the inside. Sound of Heart, accelerating from the outermost draw, steadily closed in on the frontrunners and traveled wide around the bends to enter the final stretch in third. Joie de Vivre broke smoothly from draw 13 and waited in mid-division, reserving her stamina for the final kick.

Fukunaga steered his mount to the outside in the stretch. Joie de Vivre responded willingly to the jockey’s urgings and powered past her rivals impressively, accelerating away in the last 100 meters.

Joie de Vivre crossed the wire 0.3 seconds faster than her sister did in 2008. Buena Vista had also broken from post 13 and claimed the race with a 2 1/2-length margin.