TOKYO — Normandy Thoroughbred Racing Co. Ltd.’s Daring Tact (JPN), the 2020 Japanese Filly Triple Crown winner, returns from a year-long layoff to headline a field of 18 fillies and mares in Sunday’s Victoria Mile (G1) on turf at Tokyo Racecourse. The Victoria Mile winner will earn an automatic starting position and fees paid into the US$2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) through the Win And You’re In Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 82 stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which is scheduled to be held at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington, Kentucky, on Nov. 4-5.
Trained by Haruki Sugiyama, Daring Tact, a 5-year-old mare by Epiphaneia (JPN) out of the King Kamehameha (JPN) mare Daring Bird (JPN), will be making her first start since finishing third in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup (G1) at Sha Tin in Hong Kong on April 25, 2021. Following her return to Japan, she was diagnosed with an injury that sidelined her for nine months.
In 2020, Daring Tact rocketed to stardom by becoming the first undefeated champion of Japan’s Filly Triple Crown. She captured the 1-mile Oka Sho (G1) (Japanese 1000 Guineas) at Hanshin, the 1 1/8-mile Yushun Himba (G1) (Japanese Oaks) at Tokyo, and the 1 ¼-mile Shuka Sho (G1) at Kyoto. She took on the nation’s best in the Japan Cup (G1) that November finishing a fast-closing third in her first career defeat behind the brilliant Almond Eye (JPN) ― who won the Victoria Mile earlier in the year. In her first start of 2021, Daring Tact finished second in the 1 ¼-mile Kinko Sho (G2) at Chukyo on March 14 prior to her start in the Queen Elizabeth II Cup.
Commenting on her recent progress to the Japan Racing Association, Sugiyama said, “She hasn’t raced for over a year now, and we’ve been paying particular attention to her legs, but there are no problems. The jockey (Kohei Matsuyama) has also been making sure she’s running with a good rhythm and setting good times.”
Another 5-year-old who began her career with a long winning streak is Carrot Farm Co. Ltd.’s Lei Papale (JPN), a winner six times in 12 starts. Trained by Tomokazu Takano, Lei Papale, a daughter of Deep Impact (JPN), is looking for her second Group 1 triumph, having taken the 1 ¼-mile Osaka Hai against open company at Hanshin in April 2021, in which she defeated last year’s Victoria Mile winner Gran Alegria (JPN) and Japan Cup winner Contrail (JPN). Lei Papele comes into the race off two second-place finishes against males this year. She finished 2 ½ lengths behind Jack d’Or (JPN) in the Kinko Sho (G2) on March at Chukyo and lost by just a neck to Potager (JPN) in the Osaka Hai (G1) at Hanshin on April 3.
“Even though she didn’t win the 1 ¼-mile Kinko Sho in March or the Osaka Hai after that, they were still creditable runs for a horse like her,” said Takano. “The way things have gone with her, she seems to have become bigger and more muscular, and so the timing seems right for her to take on the distance of a mile, so we’ve decided on this race.”
Carrot Farm has also entered the 5-year-old Resistencia (JPN), who finished sixth in last year’s race, and will be returning to the mile distance after four consecutive 6-furlong turf sprints. Trained by Takeshi Matsushita, Resistencia, a daughter of Daiwa Major (JPN), won the Sankei Sho Centaur Stakes (G2) at Chukyo last September in her first race after the Victoria Mile. She followed up that performance with a second-place finish in the Sprinters Stakes (G1) at Nakayama and then was sent to Sha Tin for the Longines Hong Kong Sprint (G1), where she finished second, three-quarters of a length behind Sky Field (AUS). Resistencia began this year with a sixth-place finish as the 2-1 favorite in the Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1) at Chukyo over a yielding course on March 27, defeated by just a length.
“She started as the favorite last time, so there was a bit of pressure on her,” said Matsushita. “It became a difficult race when she got to the front and set the pace, but even though she got caught at the finish, I wasn’t too unhappy about the way things turned out. She went to the farm after that, and since returning to the stable, she looks good and is moving well.”
Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co. Ltd.’s homebred Sodashi (JPN) finished third last time out in the February Stakes (G1) on dirt at Tokyo on Feb. 20, a Win And You’re In for the Longines Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1). The 4-year-old daughter of Kurofune (JPN), with the striking white color, has won six of 10 starts, but is seeking her first victory since defeating last year’s Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf winner Loves Only You (JPN) in the 1 ¼-mile Sapporo Kinen (G2) on Aug. 22. Sodashi finished 2021 on a down note, checking in 10th as the 9-5 favorite in the Shuka Sho (G1) in October, and then 12th of 16 in the Champions Cup (G1) at Chukyo. Sodashi will try for her second Group 1 score on Saturday, having won last year’s Oka Sho.
Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.’s Songline (JPN) is making her first start since capturing the 1351 Turf Sprint Cup (G3) at 6 furlongs on Feb. 22 at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Saudi Arabia. Trained by Toru Hayashi, Songline has won four races in nine starts, with two of those victories over the Tokyo course, including a triumph in the 1-mile Fuji Stakes (G2) on Oct. 23. A 4-year-old daughter of Kizuna (JPN), Songline just missed winning another race at Tokyo when she was nipped at the wire by stablemate Schnell Meister (GER) in the Group 1 NHK Mile Cup last May.
The first two finishers from the Sankei Sports Hai Hanshin Himba Stakes (G2) on April 9 ― Meisho Mimosa (JPN) and Andvaranaut (JPN) ― have been entered. Yoshio Matsumoto’s 5-year-old Meisho Mimosa captured the Himba Stakes by a half-length at 68-1 for her fifth career win. Meisho Mimosa is trained by Kaneo Ikezoe, and his son, Manabu, trains Sunday Racing’s Andvaranaut. A 4-year-old by King Kamehameha, Andvaranaut will be making her Tokyo debut on Sunday. She has won three races, including the 1 ¼-mile Kansai Telecasting Corp. Sho Rose Stakes (G2) last September.
Genichi Mitsui’s 4-year-old Fine Rouge (JPN) finished second last time out in the 1-mile Tokyo Shimbun Hai Stakes (G3) on Feb. 6 over the Tokyo course as the 3-1 favorite. Trained by Tetsuya Kimura, Fine Rouge has finished out of the money in just one of her eight starts. A daughter of Kizuna, Fine Rouge registered her third victory with a 1 ¾-length score in the Shion Stakes (G3) at Nakayama last September and followed up that performance with a second-place finish in the Shuka Sho on Oct. 17.
As a part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for the winner of the Victoria Mile to start in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which will be run at 1 3/16 miles. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships. The Challenge winner must be nominated to the Breeders’ Cup program by the pre-entry deadline of Oct. 24 to receive the rewards.
Breeders’ Cup Press Release