Red Desire edged out favorite Buena Vista in the $2 million Shuka Sho (Jpn-I) at Kyoto Race Course.

Red Desire edged out favorite Buena Vista in the $2 million Shuka Sho (Jpn-I) at Kyoto Race Course.

Kate Hunter

Buena Vista Loses in Japan's Filly Crown Bid

Red Desire, second in the first two legs, prevails by a nose at Kyoto Oct. 18.

(from Japanese Racing Association report)

Buena Vista failed in her bid to become the third winner of the Japanese filly Triple Crown on Oct. 18 when she lost by a nose to second choice Red Desire in the $2 million Shuka Sho (Jpn-I) before 51,251 at Kyoto Race Course. Buena Vista was later demoted to third by stewards for interference, which moved Broad Street up to second.

Red Desire, who was runner-up in both the Oka Sho (Japanese One Thousand Guineas) and the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), fought it out again with Buena Vista and prevailed narrowly over the long home straight of the 2,000-meter grass event.

Stewards found that the Hiroyoshi Matsuda-trained Buena Vista, under veteran Katsumi Ando, had cut off a competitor.

The Hirofumi Shii-ridden Red Desire won the first grade I race of her stellar six-race career. Her winning time was 1:58.2 over firm going, just one-tenth of a second off the race record set by Fabulous la Fouine, who won the first running of the Shuka Sho in 1996.

Fabulous la Fouine, as fate would have it, was ridden to victory by Mikio Matsunaga ,who now trains Red Desire. The Shuka Sho win was the first grade I win for Matsunaga as a trainer.

“The training staff at the stable had her in the form of her life and the horse couldn’t have responded any better today,” Shii said. “Before the race, I spoke with the trainer and we both agreed to run an aggressive race. If we go down, we go down fighting. It’s the last race of the Triple Crown and we wanted to leave everything out there.

“The finish was kind of what it was like in the Oaks, and I was a little worried that we may have come up short again,” Shii said, referring to the photo-finish loss to Buena Vista in the Japanese Oaks on May 24 at Tokyo.

“I hadn’t worked her at all since the Rose Stakes (Jpn-II on Sept. 20) but I had complete faith in the training staff. They had her in tip-top shape and the horse really ran her tail off.

“We were all gutted by the defeat in the Oka Sho and the Oaks, so it means a lot for us to win this race – even if it is just by a nose. I feel like I’ve fulfilled my responsibility this time, winning at least one Triple Crown (race) with superb horse.”

In the Rose Stakes at Hanshin, Red Desire lost by a neck to Broad Street for her third successive runner-up finish.

Broad Street, who won the Rose in record time, was ridden superbly by Shinji Fujita in the Shuka Sho, managing second despite breaking last and the jockey nearly falling off his mount at the mouth of the home stretch. Broad Street finished 1 1/4 lengths behind Red Desire and Buena Vista.

Broad Street’s stablemate Germinal, who was third in the Oka Sho as well as the Japanese Oaks, finished sixth.

Tokyo Horse Racing Co, owns Red Desire, a 3-year-old daughter of Manhattan Cafe out of the Caerleon mare Great Sunrise. The bay filly was bred in Japan by Shadai Farm. Red Desire now has three wins and three seconds in her career.