04/12/2010 12:00AM

Apapane sets stakes mark in Oka Sho


Apapane rallied to win the $2.25 million Oka Sho, or Japanese 1000 Guineas, at Hanshin on Sunday, setting a stakes record of 1:33.30 for the Grade 1 mile.

Ridden by Masayoshi Ebina, Apapane, last year's Japanese juvenile filly champion, came from fourth at the top of the stretch to catch the pacesetting Oken Sakura near the line, prevailing by a half-length as the 9-5 favorite. It was another neck back to A Shin Returns in third with the 4.-1 second choice Apricot Fizz fifth, beaten just two lengths for all the money.

Apapane had been in need of the race when three-quarters of a length second in her seasonal debut in the Grade 3 Tulip Sho at Hanshin on March 6 to Shoryu Moon, who filled the fourth place on Sunday. The winner last December of the Hanshin Fillies Mile, Apapane is clearly in love with Hanshin's mile course, but as a daughter of Japanese Derby winner King Kamehameha out of a mare by Salt Lake, may well prefer going longer.

The plan being mapped out for Apapane is up in the air, however. Her trainer, Sakae Kuneida, and her owner, Kaneko Makoto,, the man who owned Deep Impact, are toying with keeping her at a mile for her next start in the NHK Mile Cup for 3-year-olds at Tokyo on May 9. That is the race her sire King Kamehameha won before taking the Japanese Derby. If Apapane skips the NHK Mile, she would head straight to the Yushun Himba, or Japanese Oaks, at 1 1/2 miles at Tokyo on May 23. Kuenida will discuss his options with owner Makoto but has himself expressed a preference for the Oaks.