11/17/2003 12:00AM

Admire Groove wins QEII Cup


A pair of Sunday Silence fillies battled through the final furlong of the Grade 1, $1,798,000 Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup at Kyoto on Sunday, with Admire Groove getting the nod on a head bob from Still in Love

Separated by a nose at the line, those two had 1 1/2 lengths on French invader Tigertail, whose effort earned her an invitation to the Japan Cup. Another Gallic challenger, Ana Marie, came home eighth, 3 1/4 lengths behind the 7-2 winner.

Ridden by Yutaka Take, Admire Groove covered the 1 3/8 miles on firm ground in 2:11.80.

Meanwhile, the home team for the Japan Cup and the Japan Cup Dirt is taking shape. Symboli Kris S, 2002 Japanese horse of the year and third in last year's Japan Cup behind Falbrav and Sarafan, is the biggest name in the group. He will be joined in the $4.3 million Japan Cup on Nov. 30 by Japanese Derby winner Neo Universe and Japanese St. Leger winner That's the Plenty, as well as recent Grade 2 winner Tap Dance City.

In the $2.1 million Japan Cup Dirt on Nov. 29, the Japanese will be led by Admire Don, a three-time graded race winner on dirt, and Silent Deal, a Sunday Silence 3-year-old who is a full brother to 2001 Dubai World Cup runner-up To the Victory.

Sarafan, the winner of a 1 1/8-mile allowance at Hollywood on Friday, was to depart for Japan on Tuesday. He was to be accompanied on the flight by Japan Cup rivals Johar and Denon as well as Japan Cup Dirt runners Fleetstreet Dancer and Outta Here. The Gary Sciacca-trained Slew Valley was to depart for Tokyo from New York on Tuesday for his Japan Cup date.