06/03/2016 4:19PM

International roundup: Minding delivers as favorite in English Oaks

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Minding overcame trouble in the early stretch to win Friday’s $684,475 English Oaks at Epsom Racecourse, becoming the first filly in 14 years to sweep the English 1000 Guineas and Oaks.

A win seemed unlikely for Minding with a quarter-mile remaining in the Group 1 Oaks at 1 1/2 miles on turf.

Minding, the 10-11 favorite, raced in traffic and was briefly last. Jockey Ryan Moore guided Minding through fillies to take the lead with a furlong remaining. Minding held her advantage late to win by 1 1/2 lengths over Architecture, a 12-1 shot.

“She is a good filly and got me out of trouble,” Moore said. “She is much the best. Her class got her out of trouble, and she will be effective at shorter [distances]. I never felt the race was slipping away. I knew she had the class to win.”

Harlequeen closed from the back of the field of nine to finish third.

Minding gave trainer Aidan O’Brien his sixth win in the English Oaks. Owned by Derrick Smith, Michael Tabor, and Susan Magnier, Minding has won five of eight starts. She became the first filly to win the 1000 Guineas, which is run at a mile, and the Oaks since Kazzia in 2002.

In addition to those two classic wins, Minding was second in the Irish 2000 Guineas at The Curragh on May 22.

“She’s an incredible filly to win the Guineas the way she did, then go to The Curragh at short notice when it didn’t work out for her, and then come here,” O’Brien said. “She has speed, class, stamina, and a great mind.”

FRENCH DERBY

There are no standouts in the field of 17 in Sunday’s $1,699,350 French Derby at Chantilly Racecourse.

The English import Foundation was the 4-1 favorite with British bookmakers as of Friday.

Trained by John Gosden, Foundation won the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket in England last September and was third in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York on May 12.

The Group 1 French Derby for colts and fillies is run at 1 5/16 miles on turf and will be Foundation’s seventh start and first race outside of England.

Other contenders are Imperial Aviator, who beat maidens in April and won a minor handicap at Newbury Racecourse in England on May 14; Mekhtaal, who won the Group 2 Prix Hocquart at Deauville in France on May 15; and Zarak, who was fifth as the favorite in the French 2000 Guineas at Deauville, also on May 15.

The French 2000 Guineas was Zarak’s first loss in his third start. Zarak is out of Zarkava, who was unbeaten in seven starts in 2007 and 2008, including the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2008.

JAPAN

Maurice will be favored to win his fifth consecutive Group 1 or Grade 1 race in Sunday’s $2.082 million Yasuda Kinen Stakes at a mile on turf at Tokyo Racecourse.

Maurice won the Grade 1 Yasuda Kinen in 2015 and has won his last two starts in Hong Kong in Group 1 races – the Hong Kong Mile last December and the Champions Mile on May 1, his only start this year. A 5-year-old, Maurice has won nine of 14 starts in his career.

The field includes Real Steel, the winner of the $6 million Dubai Turf at Meydan Racecourse on March 26. Real Steel has won three of nine starts and was second in the Grade 1 Japanese St. Leger last October.

Real Steel is the only 4-year-old in a field of 12 that otherwise consists of horses ages 5 to 8.