Four-year-old Sodashi defeats strong field in Victoria Mile

Fourth favourite Sodashi claimed this year’s Grade 1 Victoria Mile (1600m) at Tokyo on Sunday to register her third G1 title following the 2020 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies and the 2021 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas). 

Hayato Yoshida salutes the win with Sodashi, picture Japan Racing Association

The 2021 Best Three-Year-Old Filly, who came off a third in her second dirt start, the February Stakes (G1, dirt, 1,600m), has claimed all her four starts on turf over a mile distance. 

This marked trainer Naosuke Sugai’s 14th JRA-G1 title following the Oka Sho victory with this filly, and the second Victoria Mile title following his win with Admire Lead in 2017. Jockey Hayato Yoshida landed his fifth JRA-G1 title following his Osaka Hai victory with Potager last month.

Breaking sharply from stall five, four-year-old Sodashi traveled by the rails in fourth and steered slightly to the outside entering the lane to make bid. The Kurofune filly broke loose from the pack passing the
200-meter pole, promptly overtook the frontrunner and pulled away with an impressive late drive for a two-length victory.

“The filly was relaxed and in good condition when I rode her in the post parade. Once she entered the gate, she was focused and was able to make a good break and I was able to ride her in good rhythm while
holding down her pace. She responded well at the stretch and when I urged her to go. As today’s race included a very strong field, it was like a dream for a white horse to be able to win a G1 race at Tokyo
Racecourse,” commented Hayato Yoshida.

Third choice Fine Rouge sat three-wide in around sixth and while struggling to find a clear path at the early stretch, showed a persistent turn of foot to close in on the winner, passing her rivals one by one.
Though unable to catch up with Sodashi, the Kizuna filly won out a four-horse rally to secure a runner-up seat by a neck.

Sixth pick Resistencia rallied to take the lead but eased back to second to let Rosa Noir set the pace. Angling out slightly entering the stretch, the Daiwa Major mare ran strongly to nose out the tenacious pacesetter just before the wire but was outrun by fast-closing Fine Rouge to finish third.

Race favourite Lei Papale broke smoothly and settled third from the front. Though entering the homestretch in good striking position, the Deep Impact mare was unable to show her usual late kick and faded to 12th.

4-year-olds & up, Fillies & Mares, 1,600 meters (about 8 furlongs), turf, left-handed
Sunday, May 15, 2022 Tokyo Racecourse 11th Race Post time: 15:40
Total prize money: ¥ 281,800,000 (about US$ 2,451,000 <US$1=¥115>)
4-y-o & up: 55kg (about 121 lbs), 1kg allowance for Southern Hemisphere-bred born in 2018
Course Record: 1:30.5 Race Record: 1:30.5 [Normcore (JPN, by Harbinger), 2019]
Safety factor: 18 runners Going: Good to Firm Weather: Cloudy

FP BK PP Horse Jockey S&A Color Wgt Odds (Fav) Margin (L3F) Sire Dam (Dam’s Sire) Owner Breeder Trainer

1 3 5 Sodashi (JPN) Hayato Yoshida F4 w. 55.0 5.7 (4) 1:32.2 (33.4) Kurofune Buchiko (King Kamehameha) Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co., Ltd. Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc. Naosuke Sugai

2 6 11 Fine Rouge (JPN) Christophe Lemaire F4 b. 55.0 5.4 (3) 2 (33.4) Kizuna Passion Rouge (Boston Harbor) Genichi Mutsui Northern Racing Tetsuya Kimura

3 4 7 Resistencia (JPN) Takeshi Yokoyama M5 b. 55.0 12.8 (6) Neck (34.1) Daiwa Major Malacostumbrada (Lizard Island) Carrot Farm Co., Ltd. Northern Farm Takeshi Matsushita

Other Horses:
4th: (10) Rosa Noir—set pace, showed tenacity after surrendering lead, weakened in final strides
5th: (2) Songline—sat around 9th, accelerated but had too much ground to make up
6th: (1) Daring Tact—hugged rails around 6th behind winner, showed effort but lacked another gear
7th: (9) Ablaze—positioned around 15th, timed tied fastest over last 3 furlongs, never threatened
8th: (14) Akai Ito—traveled 3-wide in 14th, passed tiring rivals at stretch
9th: (17) Shadow Diva—unhurried around 15h, turned wide, launched belated charge
10th: (12) Miss New York—ran in 11th, circled wide, responded until 100m out
11th: (6) Divina—settled around 8th behind winner, showed brief effort
13th: (18) Terzetto—trailed in rear, showed fastest late drive, belatedly
14th: (15) Andvaranaut—sat 4-wide around 8-9th, lacked needed kick
15th: (16) Des Ailes—raced 3-wide around 12th, failed to respond
16th: (8) Kurino Premium—traveled in 5th near winner, outrun at stretch
17th: (4) Magic Castle—took economic trip around 12th, showed nothing at stretch
18th: (3) Meisho Mimosa—saved ground around 15th, never fired at stretch
Fractional time (sec./furlong): 12.5 - 10.8 - 11.4 - 11.6 - 11.7 - 11.1 - 11.3 - 11.8
 Last 4 furlongs: 45.9 Last 3 furlongs: 34.2