05/21/2001 12:00AM

Desormeaux wins Japanese Oaks

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Kent Desormeaux's tour of duty in Japan hit a new high Sunday when he rode Lady Pastel to victory in the $1.86 million Grade 1 Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), becoming the first foreign jockey to ride the winner of a Japanese classic race.

One of four winners ridden by Desormeaux at Tokyo on Sunday, Lady Pastel is a Japanese-bred filly by 1988 Arc de Triomphe winner Tony Bin out of 1991 Group 1 Prix Vermeille runner-up Pink Turtle. She had previously finished a half-length second under Desormeaux in the Grade 2 Flora Stakes on April 22.

Trained by Kiyotaka Tanaka for the Lord Horse Club Co. Ltd., Lady Pastel defeated Flora Stakes third Rosebud by a neck with T.M. Ocean third. The winning time for the 1 1/2 miles on firm turf was 2:26.30.

Desormeaux will try for a classic double at Tokyo this Sunday when he rides Born King in the Japanese Derby.