Apapane wins the Victoria Mile.

Apapane wins the Victoria Mile.

Naoji Inada

Apapane Stops Buena Vista in Victoria Mile

Favorite was in quest of repeat at Tokyo, but came up a neck short in record time.

Apapane spoiled Buena Vista's quest for a repeat success in the $2.2 million Victoria Mile (Jpn-I), taking the lead with 50 meters to run and holding off the the powerful charge of the strong favorite by a neck at Tokyo Racecourse May 15.

In a clash of Japanese 2-year-old filly champions, Apapane teamed with her career-long rider Masayoshi Ebina to post a race-record clocking of 1:31.9 for the 1,600-meter event contested over firm turf before a reported crowd of 57,500. The 4-year-old Apapane was the third to sweep Japan's filly Triple Crown last year after winning juvenile honors in 2009.

The daughter of King Kamehameha--Salty Bid, by Salt Lake, earned her fifth grade I victory, tying her with the 5-year-old Buena Vista, champion 2-year-old filly of 2008. The winning Kaneko Makoto Holdings homebred is trained by Sakae Kunieda.

Breaking smoothly from Post 16 in the 17-horse field, second choice Apapane was reined back in mid-division, well behind the front-running Oken Sakura who set a quick pace. Oken Sakura enjoyed a six-length gap from A Shin Returns and Lady Alba Rosa, who traveled in second and third positions, respectively. Buena Vista, partnering with Japan's leading jockey Yasunari Iwata for the first time, settled in the rear group, around fourth from last, and traveled wide right behind Apapane.

With Oken Sakura still maintaining a three-length lead entering the homestretch, third choice Lady Alba Rosa was the first to challenge, nailing the front past the 400-meter pole. Longshot Grand Prix Angel partnered with Craig Williams, who had raced in mid-pack by the rail, followed tenaciously.

Surging out from the outside, however, Apapane took up the fight with Lady Alba Rosa, grabbed the advantage in deep stretch and dug in for the finish. Buena Vista, meanwhile, unleashed her big kick from further out and steadily closed in on the leaders. She overtook Lady Alba Rosa in the last few strides but came up short of catching Apapane.

Lady Alba Rosa, ridden by Yuichi Fukunaga, finished a neck behind Buena Vista. Grand Prix Angel crossed the wire another 1 1/2 lengths behind in fourth.

With the victory, Apapane ran her record to seven wins in 12 starts.