06/23/2011 1:05PM

Hanshin: Buena Vista heads Takarazuka Kinen

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Buena Vista, Japan’s Horse of the Year for the last two seasons, will be favored in Sunday’s Group 1 Takarazuka Kinen at Hanshin Racecourse, a race that offers an automatic berth to the winner to the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Churchill Downs in November.

A 5-year-old mare who has won 8 of 12 starts and $12,830,595, Buena Vista was second in the 2010 running of the Takarazuka Kinen, which has a purse of approximately $3.2 million, drew a field of 16, and is run over about 1 3/8 miles on turf. Buena Vista finished first in the Japan Cup last November, but was disqualified and placed second for causing interference to Rose Kingdom in the final furlong.

This year, Buena Vista is winless in two starts, an eighth-place finish in the $10 million Dubai World Cup and a running second in the $2.1 million Victoria Mile at Tokyo on May 15.

Rose Kingdom is part of the Takarazuka Kinen field, but has not had the same form this year as last fall, having finished 11th in the Tenno Sho last month. The field also includes Eishin Flash, the 30-1 upset winner of the Japanese Derby last year, who is winless in five subsequent starts, and Earnestly and Dream Journey, who were third and fourth in the 2010 Takarazuka Kinen.