Songline Overtakes Defending Champion Sodashi At The Wire To Win Sunday’s Victoria Mile At Tokyo Racecourse
Daughter of Kizuna Earns Automatic Berth into US$2 Million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita Park
Edited Article from Japan Racing Association
TOKYO — Sunday Racing Co. Ltd.’s 5-year-old Songline (JPN) overtook defending champion Sodashi (JPN) in the final yards to prevail by a head in Sunday’s US$2.1 million Victoria Mile (G1) for fillies and mares at Tokyo Racecourse. With this victory, Songline, ridden by Keita Tosaki and trained by Toru Hayashi, gained an automatic starting position and fees paid into the US$2 million Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 80 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 Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
Songline joins Make it Snappy (SAF), winner of the Cartier Paddock Stakes (G1) in South Africa in January, as the first two runners to earn free berths in the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series.
Under drizzling conditions, Songline, the 7-1 fourth choice in the 16-horse field, broke smoothly from post 6 to begin the 18th Victoria Mile. She settled into midpack along the rail through the first half-mile, just behind the 5-2 favorite Stars on Earth (JPN), while Kentucky-bred longshot Lotus Land set the pace. Sodashi, the 4-1 third choice, who was a 2-length winner of last year’s Victoria Mile, also broke smartly from the outside post 16 and quickly gained a position just behind Lotus Land.
Advancing to sixth entering the lane, Songline got into high gear behind Stars on Earth and passed her before the 200-meter pole. At this point, Sodashi finally put away a determined Lotus Lane and appeared headed for the winner’s circle, but Songline surged brilliantly between those two in the last 100 meters to steal the victory. Stars on Earth, last year’s Grade 1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) winner, closed well for third, a length behind the winner, followed by Divina (JPN), Sound Vivace (JPN), and Lotus Land in sixth.
“Though we had to race further back and inward than planned, we were able to race in good position while eyeing the race favorites,” said winning rider Tosaki. “The track was a little heavy due to the rain but she responded strongly in the straight. It was a close race, but I was pretty sure we crossed the wire in front. I knew that Songline has a strong ability so I’m really happy we were able to win the race.”
Capturing her second Group 1 victory, Songline, a daughter of Kizuna (JPN) out of Luminous Parade (JPN) by Symboli Kris S, completed the mile in 1:32.2 over a course listed as good to firm. Bred by Northern Farm, Songline, who finished fifth in last year’s Victoria Mile, improved her record to six wins in 14 starts.
After claiming the Yasuda Kinen (G1) last June at Tokyo, which earned her an automatic berth into the US$2 million FanDuel Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), Songline finished fifth in the Sankei Sho Centaur Stakes (G2) in September. She was scheduled to run in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland, but the trip was canceled due to an epiglottis inflammation. This year, in her previous start, she was unable to defend her title in the 1351 Turf Sprint (G3) on Feb. 25 in Saudi Arabia, finishing 10th of 11.
As a part of the benefits of the Challenge Series, Breeders’ Cup will pay the entry fees for Songline to start in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, which will be run at 1 1/4 miles at Santa Anita. Breeders’ Cup will also provide a travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.