04/09/2007 12:00AM

Daiwa Scarlet beats Vodka in Japanese 1000 Guineas

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Daiwa Scarlet held off the late challenge of the 2-5 favorite, Vodka, at Hanshin on Sunday to win the $1.75 million Oka Sho, or Japanese 1000 Guineas.

An Agnes Tachyon half-sister to three-time Grade 1 winner Daiwa Major, the 4.90-1 Daiwa Scarlet prevailed by 1 1/2 lengths. She traveled the mile under Katsumi Ando on firm ground in 1:33.70, just .20 of a second off the stakes record of Rhein Kraft in 2005 when Cesario was a head second, and just .10 of a second off the time of Dance in the Mood, who won the race in 2004.

In victory, Daiwa Scarlet was avenging a neck loss to Japanese juvenile filly champion Vodka in Hanshin's Grade 3 Tulip Sho on March 3. The two are expected to meet again in the 1 1/2-mile Yushun Himba, or Japanese Oaks, at Tokyo on May 20, when trainer Kunihide Matsuda thinks that Daiwa Scarlet should not have any problems handling the additional half-mile.