Matured Lucky Lilac finishes strongly to win Osaka Hai

Second favorite Lucky Lilac improved on her runner-up effort in the Nakayama Kinen (G2, 1,800m) last month to captured her third G1 title in this year’s Osaka Hai which was held without the usual cheering crowd due to precautionary measures against COVID-19 taken by the JRA. The Hanshin Juvenile Fillies (G1, 1,600m) victor and 2017 Best Two-Year-Old Filly landed her second G1 victory last November in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (2,200m) and concluded her four-year-old campaign with a runner-up effort in the Hong Kong Vase (G1, 2,400m). 

Trainer Mikio Matsunaga claimed his fifth career G1 title (steeplechases included)—the last being the Queen Elizabeth II Cup with the same horse. Jockey Mirco Demuro landed his 31st JRA-G1 title, the first since the 2019 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) with Loves Only You. He also won
the 2018 edition of the Osaka Hai with Suave Richard, a year after the race was upgraded to G1 status.

Lucky Lilac broke sharply from a good draw but allowed race favorite Danon Kingly to pass and dictate a moderated pace and eased to third along the rails, a few lengths behind the pace setter and Jinambo who stalked the leader in second. While keeping an eye on Chrono Genesis who made her move towards the outside route turning for home, Mirco Demuro kept the Orfevre mare to the inside, and did not miss the chance as Jinambo began to tire with 200 meters to go and slipped through to the outside of Danon Kingly, increasing her strides impressively to out-win both Chrono Genesis and Danon Kingly for a neck victory.

“I really miss the fans that were unable to come and watch the race, but it’s always a great feeling to be able to win a G1 race. Lucky Lilac was well prepared for coming into this race after a prep at Nakayama where she found the uphill still a little tough at the finish—she was definitely very strong and fit this time. She was really  sharp coming out of the gate and we were a little forwardly positioned than expected but the race went perfectly for us and she was really concentrating and taking the bit after the third corner—we were lucky to find a nice opening at the stretch. She’s a mare but a not timid and has the strength to face the top males in the future,” commented Mirco Demuro.

Chrono Genesis broke smoothly from an outside draw and gradually moved up to settle in fourth position, outside and half a length behind the eventual winner. The Bago filly made her move approaching the fourth corner, overtaking Lucky Lilac and shifting to the outside for the stretch run, and while she was able to pin down Danon Kingly who gave a good fight to maintain his lead, she was a neck short in second at the wire
after having to cover more ground than the winner who came from the inside.

Race favorite Danon Kingly was looking to capture his first G1 title in this race and turned in a strong performance in defeat. Breaking sharply and allowed to dictate a moderate pace with Jinambo close in second on his outside, the Deep Impact colt held on gamely while threatened by the first two finishers in the last furlong and crossed the wire a neck-neck third.

4-year-olds & up, 2,000 meters (about 10 furlongs), turf, right-handed
Sunday, April 5, 2020 Hanshin Racecourse 11th Race Post time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 291,600,000 (about US$ 2,700,000 <US$1=¥108>)
4-y-o & up: 57kg (about 126 lbs),
2kg allowance for Fillies & Mares, 1kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2016
Course Record: 1:57.2 Race Record: 1:58.2 [Suave Richard (JPN, by Heart’s Cry), 2018]
Safety factor: 16 runners Going: Firm Weather: Fine

1 5 5 Lucky Lilac (JPN) Mirco Demuro M5 ch. 55.0 4.1 (2) 1:58.4 (33.9) Orfevre Lilacs and Lace (Flower Alley) Sunday Racing Co., Ltd. Northern Racing Mikio Matsunaga

2 8 12 Chrono Genesis (JPN) Yuichi Kitamura F4 g. 55.0 5.2 (4) Neck (34.0) Bago Chronologist (Kurofune) Sunday Racing Co., Ltd. Northern Racing Takashi Saito

3 6 8 Danon Kingly (JPN) Norihiro Yokoyama C4 d.b. 57.0 3.8 (1) Neck (34.3) Deep Impact My Goodness (Storm Cat) Danox Co., Ltd. Mishima Bokujo Kiyoshi Hagiwara
Other Horses:
4th: (11) Cadenas—sat in 11th, met traffic at early stretch, showed terrific late kick after 300m pole, fastest
over last 3 furlongs
5th: (4) Wagnerian—took economic trip around 5th, found little room between last 2 corners, accelerated in
last 200m
6th: (10) Jinambo—tracked leader in 2nd, ran gamely until 200m pole, outrun thereafter
7th: (3) Blast Onepiece—sat 3-wide around 9th early, made headway after 3rd corner, lacked needed kick
8th: (6) Red Genial—settled around 5th, turned last 2 corners outside winner, unable to reach contention
9th: (7) Stay Foolish—race 3-wide around 5th, outrun after final corner
10th: (2) Satono Saltus—hugged rails around 9th, switched outside for stretch run, even paced
11th: (9) Makahiki—traveled around 8th, circled wide, showed little at stretch
12th: (1) Lord My Way—trailed in rear, gradually advanced, faded at stretch
Fractional time (sec./furlong): 12.9 - 11.7 - 12.3 - 11.9 - 11.6 - 12.1 - 11.7 - 11.3 - 11.2 - 11.7
Last 4 furlongs: 45.9 Last 3 furlongs: 34.2