05/22/2009 12:00AM

Buena Vista the Tokyo standout

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Buena Vista's tall reputation precedes her into the $2.4 million Yushun Himba, or Japanese Oaks, at Tokyo Racecourse on Sunday. She came from last to first to win the one-mile Japanese 1000 Guineas last month, a performance so impressive it had some observers touting her as the filly version of Deep Impact, the winner of the Japanese Triple Crown in 2005 and widely regarded as the greatest racehorse Japan has ever produced.

A daughter of the 1999 Japan Cup winner, Special Week, Buena Vista is expected to handle the step up from a mile to 1 1/2 miles. Her rider, Katsumi Ando, says that Buena Vista, trained by Hiroyoshi Matsuda, "is in a completely different class" from her 17 Yushun Himba opponents. That in spite of the fact that she beat Red Desire by only a half-length in the Guineas.

The power Buena Vista displayed that day in sweeping past the field in less than two furlongs marks her as something special, however. Three talented rivals will all have their work cut out for them in the Oaks: Red Desire; Dear Geena, winner of the Flora Stakes; and Germinal, third in the Guineas.

If there is a dark horse in the field, it is the untested Delicate Piece. A daughter of Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe runner-up White Muzzle, she has won her two starts going 1 1/4 miles by a combined five lengths, but she will be facing much tougher company on Sunday.