Undefeated Loves Only You claims Yushun Himba with record-breaking speed

Race favorite Loves Only You captured this year’s Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) at Tokyo on Sunday while setting a new race record of 2:22.8, 0.8 seconds faster than previously set by Gentildonna in 2012. The unbeaten Deep Impact filly has extended her winning streak to four since her debut in November last year. 

A full sister to 2016 Dubai Turf victor Real Steel, Loves Only You concluded her two-year-old season with two wins but was unable to start in Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) trials due to a minor leg problem and instead of aiming for the first leg of the fillies’ 
Triple Crown, she was sent off to the Wasurenagusa Sho (Listed, 2,000m) on April 7 in which she romped to a three-length victory.

She has now become the fifth undefeated filly to capture the title following Kawakami Princess in 2006 and is also tied with Kawakami Princess as the Japanese Oaks winner with the least career starts.

This is the sixth JRA-G1 victory for trainer Yoshito Yahagi and first following his 2018 Queen Elizabeth II Cup victory with Lys Gracieux. Jockey Mirco Demuro celebrates his 30th JRA-G1 victory—his most recent triumph was in the NHK Mile Cup with Admire Mars a couple of weeks before—and he now becomes the 10th jockey in JRA history to have won all five classics titles for three-year-old colts and fillies.

The race broke in front of the crowd-packed stands with Jodie making the most of her inner draw to gun for the lead while Loves Only You, who broke from stall 13, was settled two to three-wide in mid-division. After slightly shifting to an outer path rounding the final turn, the Deep Impact filly unleashed the fastest stretch drive picking off her rivals and displayed her stamina with another strong stride after reaching the top of the hill to pin Curren Bouquetd’or with less than 100 meters to the wire for the title.

“I was a bit worried at the final corner since we were in a lower position than planned, but she showed an incredible burst of speed and stretched beautifully. She has a heart of steel and can’t stand to lose. I’m just thrilled that I’ve now won all five classics,” commented Mirco Demuro after the race.

Coming off her Sweet Pea Stakes win, Curren Bouquetd’or maintained her good striking position in fourth to fifth and three-wide beside Chrono Genesis and easily stole the lead in the lane two furlongs out. The 12th favorite held on remarkably well but her fleeting glimpse of glory ended by the strong closure of the eventual winner and she finished a neck second.

Second favored Chrono Genesis saved ground on the rails in fourth to fifth, squeezed through a gap in early stretch and chased Curren Bouquetd’or down the straight while briefly dueling with third favorite Contra Check, but failed to keep up with the speed of the eventual runner-up and finished 2-1/2 lengths behind in third.

3-year-old Fillies, 2,400 meters (about 12 furlongs), turf, left-handed
Sunday, May 19, 2019 Tokyo Racecourse 11th Race Post Time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 238,600,000 (about US$ 2,075,000 <US$1=¥115>)

1. Loves Only You (JPN), bay, filly, 3-year-old
Deep Impact / Loves Only Me (Storm Cat)
Owner: DMM Dream Club Co., Ltd. Breeder: Northern Farm
Trainer: Yoshito Yahagi Jockey: Mirco Demuro
4 Starts, 4 Wins
Added money: ¥ 135,508,000 Career earnings: ¥ 172,949,000

2. Curren Bouquetd’or (JPN), bay, filly, 3-year-old
Deep Impact / Solaria (Scat Daddy)
Owner: Takashi Suzuki Breeder: Shadai Farm
Trainer: Sakae Kunieda Jockey: Akihide Tsumura

3. Chrono Genesis (JPN), gray, filly, 3-year-old
Bago / Chronologist (Kurofune)
Owner: Sunday Racing Co., Ltd. Breeder: Northern Racing
Trainer: Takashi Saito Jockey: Yuichi Kitamura

Other Horses:
4th: (12) Victoria—was off slow, ran in 15th, quickened between horses, 2nd fastest over last 3 furlongs
5th: (8) Danon Fantasy—raced around 7th, responded well at stretch although checked 200m out
6th: (7) Shadow Diva—saved ground around 8th, switched to outside, ran gamely but weakened in last 100m
7th: (4) Schon Glanz —settled in 16th, circled wide, accelerated and 3rd fastest over last 3 furlongs
8th: (6) Aqua Mirabilis—trailed in rear, angled out, showed belated charge
9th: (3) Contra Check—tracked leader in 2nd, ran gamely until 200m pole, weakened thereafter
10th: (18) Figlia Pura—traveled 2nd from rear along rails, passed tired rivals in last 200m
11th: (5) Aile Voix—chased leaders in 3rd, overtaken by late chargers after 400m pole
12th: (11) Shigeru Pink Dia—sat inside winner around 10th, even paced at stretch
13th: (9) Win Zenobia—hugged rails in 14th, advanced at backstretch, ran willingly until 200m marker
14th: (1) Jodie—set solid pace, surrendered lead at early stretch, outrun thereafter
15th: (16) Beach Samba—sat 3-wide in 11th, noting left at straight
16th: (14) Fairy Polka—settled 4-wide around 6th, ran out of steam after entering lane
17th: (17) Meisho Shobu—raced 3-wide in 13th, never fired at stretch
18th: (15) No One—traveled in 12th, faded after final corner
Fractional time (sec./furlong): 12.5 - 10.9 - 11.7 - 11.9 - 12.1 - 12.2 - 12.3 - 12.2 - 11.7 - 11.4 - 11.6 - 12.3
Last 4 furlongs: 47.0 Last 3 furlongs: 35.3