Top Filly Daiwa Scarlet Wins Arima Kinen

The 4-year-old becomes the first female winner of Japan's Grand Prix in 37 years.

Guided to victory on the front end by jockey Katsumi Ando, favored Daiwa Scarlet became the first female winner of the Arima Kinen (Jpn-I) in 37 years before a crowd of 110,000 at Nakayama Race Course in Japan Dec. 28.

The about 1 9/16-mile turf event, also known as the Nakayama Grand Prix, was worth an estimated US$3,333,000.

Breaking from post 13 in the 14-horse field, Daiwa Scarlet quickly assumed command and was able to set a moderate pace for Ando, who has ridden the 4-year-old filly in all of her races. She had plenty left for the final charge, scoring a 1 3/4-length win over the closing Admire Monarch. Air Shady finished third. The final time was 2:31.5 over firm going.

Daiwa Scarlet, second in the Arima Kinen last year, has won eight times in 12 lifetime starts with four seconds. She became the fourth female winner of the race, which was established in 1956.

Winner of the Oka Sho (Japanese One Thousand Guineas, Jpn-I) last year, the daughter of Agnes Tachyon began her 2008 season with a win in the Sankei Osaka Hai (Jpn-II) April 6 before going to the sidelines with a cannon bone splint to her right foreleg. The chestnut filly returned to action after nearly seven months in Tokyo's Tenno Sho Autumn (Jpn-I) Nov. 2, where she was nosed by record-setting Vodka for the win over 2,000 meters.

Several challengers, including the 5-year-old group I winner Meisho Samson and recent Japan Cup (Jpn-I) winner Screen Hero, emerged to chase Daiwa Scarlet during the race. But as the field turned for home, the winner was alone on the lead as Screen Hero and Meisho Samson gave way.

Admire Monarch, who trailed earlier in the race, circled the field and had a clear run to the finish to gain second by three-quarters of a length over Air Shady. Screen Hero was fifth. Meisho Samson finished eighth, with defending champion Matsurida Gogh checking in 12th.

Keizo Oshiro owns Daiwa Scarlet, who is trained by Kunihide Matsuda. Shadai Farm bred the winner, who is out of the Northern Taste mare Scarlet Bouquet. Daiwa Scarlet has earned more than US$6.8 million in her career.