(from Japanese Racing Association report)
Queen Spumante, a 77-1 outsider, left a crowd of 58,944 at Kyoto Race Course in shock, leading from the outset to win the $2.1 million Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup (Jpn-I) Nov. 15 over a field that included champion 3-year-old filly Buena Vista and Qatar Petroleum Prix de l'Opera (Fr-I) winner Shalanaya.
Jockey Hiroyasu Tanaka, 23, earned his first grade I victory, guiding the 5-year-old Queen Spumante to a 1 1/2-length victory over T M Precure, who was an even longer price than the winner. Buena Vista, ridden by Katsumi Ando, closed furiously for third as the favorite. The Irish-bred and French-trained Shalanaya, the only foreign entrant in the 18-horse field of fillies and mares, finished fourth. Queen Spumante completed the about 1 3/8-mile distance (2,200 meters) in 2:13.6 over firm going.
After starting well, Tanaka took the 11th favorite Queen Spumante to the lead, and although T M Precure – the 12th favorite – quickly followed, the two leaders did not spend much energy in the early stages of the race. The fancied runners settled well in the pack, with third choice Shalanaya and second favorite Broad Street in midfield positions, while Buena Vista had just three horses behind her in the early stages.
Queen Spumante and T M Precure gradually increased their lead, and as the field reached the mid-point, they held a break of almost 100 meters to the third horse, 4-year-old Little Amapola, who won the QE II last year.
Ando on Buena Vista showed his concern, kicking the Japanese One Thousand Guineas and Japanese Oaks winner into gear with 800 meters still to run. Buena Vista was vying for third as the field came into the final straight. But Queen Spumante and T M Precure were determined. At the 200-meter mark, Queen Spumante had shaken off the challenge of T M Precure and was headed to victory. T M Precure was tiring and Buena Vista was flying in the final stages, but Queen Spumante prevailed with plenty to spare. T M Precure just held on for second by a neck over Buena Vista.
Shalanaya, with Christophe Lemaire aboard, was another 3 1/2 lengths back, finishing ahead of 4-year-old mare Meisho Beluga and Broad Street.
Bringing her career record to 6-for-21, Queen Spumante won her first grade I event. She is by 2001 Japan Cup (Jpn-I) winner Jungle Pocket out of the Sakura Yutaka mare Sembon Zakura. The chestnut was bred by Shadai Farm and is owned by Green Farm. Shigeyuki Kojima is the winning trainer.