05/14/2017 12:36PM

Admire Lead ends graded stakes drought with victory in Victoria Mile


Admire Lead ended a streak of six career losses in graded stakes with an upset win in Sunday’s Grade 1 Victoria Mile for fillies and mares on turf at Tokyo Racecourse in Japan.

Ridden by Christophe Lemaire, Admire Lead (12-1) closed from 12th in a field of 17 to win by 1 1/4 lengths over 67-1 Denko Ange. Jour Polaire, a 16-1 shot, finished a neck behind Denko Ange. The Victoria Mile had a purse of $1,599,365.

Mikki Queen, the 9-10 favorite, raced in traffic in early stretch and was not a factor in the final furlong, finishing seventh. Mikki Queen won the Grade 1 Japanese Oaks in 2015.

The race was run on a good turf course softened by rain on Saturday. The conditions were ideal for Admire Lead, Lemaire said.

“I had every confidence in her today because I knew the soft track wouldn’t bother her at all,” Lemaire told Japan Racing Association publicity. “I was able to position her well. Although she has a good turn of foot, her charge doesn’t last long so I tried not to drive her in early stretch.”

Admire Lead has won 5 of 14 starts for owner Riichi Kondo and trainer Naosuke Sugai. A 4-year-old filly by Stay Gold, Admire Lead was fifth in the Grade 1 Japanese 1000 Guineas and 15th in the Grade 1 Japanese Oaks last year. Earlier this year, Admire Lead won two minor races before finishing second in the Grade 2 Hanshin Himba Stakes on April 8, her best result in a graded stakes before Sunday’s breakthrough win.