Sodashi becomes first white filly to win a Japanese Classic

April 12, 2021

Sodashi made thoroughbred racing history at Hanshin, Japan, on Sunday, by becoming the first white filly to win a Japanese Classic, as the daughter of Kurofune took the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas), the opening leg of the 2021 Japanese Fillies’ Triple Crown.

The now five-race undefeated Sodashi had previously become the first white filly to win a Grade 1 in Japan when defeating her arch-rival, Deep Impact’s daughter Satono Reinas, in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies last December.

Again at Hanshin on Sunday, the two rivals clashed on their seasonal debuts with the eventual winner jumping well from the gate and finding an excellent position, while her main challenger and race favourite Satono Reinas, who broke from the widest gate in 18, found herself trapped very wide near the rear of the field for much of the race.

Sodashi raced just behind the pace before taking the race lead just over a furlong from the wire. She quickly established daylight between herself and her 17 rivals before the charging pack quickly cut down the deficit. 

The Kaneko Makoto Holdings Inc. owned and bred white filly asserted her authority in the final furlongs as she held off the strong late challenge of Satono Reinas to win by a neck. Fine Rouge was only a further half-length behind in third with Akaitorino Musume another neck back in fourth in the first Japanese Classic of the season.  

The victory, the first by a Best Two-Year-Old Filly Award winner in 11 years in the Oka Sho, set a new course record of 1:31.10 for the 1 mile race, breaking the mark set by Black Moon in 2017.

It was a 13th Grade 1 win for trainer Naosuke Sugai and a third for jockey Hayato Yoshida.

“It’s a great feeling” said winning rider Yoshida. “There was a lot of pressure with many doubting how strong a white filly could be, so I’m thrilled we were able to prove them wrong. I was a bit worried that the fast track would be a disadvantage, but she responded beautifully and ran well holding off the others closing in on us which I saw and made me drive her to the wire. Her potential is limitless and I look forward to her future starts.”

The first time Classic-winning rider Yoshida continued: 

“She was calm when we went to the back of the gate after entering the turf course. I had a very good feeling at the gate. It was very fast ground and I thought it would not be good for her, but she has an ability to run well (on very fast ground). There was big pressure before the race because her ability was doubted – if she was really strong or only popular. She has grown up more than I expected and could race cleverly. Her future is undecided but (she has) unlimited possibilities. I’m honoured to be able to challenge in the Classic with such a horse.”

The unusual looking Sodashi is the first foal out of four-time winner Buchiko, a black and white spotted mare. Buchiko’s own dam was another white mare called Shirayukihime, meaning ‘Snow White’.

Sodashi won on debut over 1 mile 1 furlong at Hakodate on 12 July 2020, before stepping up in class to take the Grade 3 Sapporo Nisai Stakes in early September last year. She claimed another Grade 3 when winning the Artemis Stakes over a mile at Tokyo, before ending her juvenile season unbeaten with a victory over Sunday’s runner-up Satono Reinas in the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies on 13 December 2020.

Though immediate plans have not been confirmed for Sodashi, the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) at Tokyo Racecourse over a mile and a half is a likely next target, with possibly a trip to Kyoto Racecourse in October for the final leg of the Japanese Fillies’ Triple Crown, the 1 mile 2 furlongs Shuka Sho, likely to be on the horizon. 

Photos: Courtesy of Japan Racing Association

Contributing Authors

Breandán Ó hUallacháin

Breandán Ó hUallacháin writes about Irish, British, French and Australian horseracing, both National Hunt and Flat. He has an interest in the history of racing...

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