11/25/2012 2:14PM

Gentildonna becomes first 3-year-old filly to win Japan Cup


Gentildonna, the winner of the Japanese Triple Crown earlier this year, became the first 3-year-old filly to win the $6.5 million Japan Cup on Sunday, holding off Orfevre, the winner of the 2011 Japanese Triple Crown, by a nose.

Gentildonna had to survive a lengthy inquiry into the stretch run before the order of finish was left unchanged by track stewards.

Orfevre, second in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October, finished 2 1/2 lengths clear of the Japanese older horse Rulership in the field of 17. The first three finishers are owned by Sunday Racing Co.

Solemia, the winner of the Arc, could only finish 13th in her final career start.

Gentildonna won her fifth consecutive stakes in the Grade 1 Japan Cup, her first race against older males. Trained by Sei Ishizaka and ridden by Yasunari Iwata, Gentildonna was always near the front, stalking pacesetter Beat Black. Gentildonna raced on the rail into the stretch and fought with Orfevre through the final furlong, with the two making contact.

While the order of finish was not changed, the stewards did suspend Iwata for two days, Dec. 1-2. Iwata also won the 2011 Japan Cup with Buena Vista.

Gentildonna is by Deep Impact, the winner of the 2006 Japan Cup. Aside from the filly Triple Crown – the Japanese 1000 Guineas, Japanese Oaks and Shuka Sho - she also won the Rose Stakes in September.

Ishizaka said after the race that Gentildonna will be considered for international racing in 2013, with races in Dubai, France and the United States as possibilities.