04/05/2012 12:54PM

Japan: Joie de Vivre tops big field in 1000 Guineas at Hanshin

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Joie de Vivre, Japan’s champion 2-year-old filly of 2011 and a half-sister to the super mare Buena Vista, is the expected favorite in Sunday’s Grade 1 Japanese 1000 Guineas at Hanshin Racecourse.

Known as the Oka Sho, the Japanese 1000 Guineas is worth approximately $2.3 million and is run over about a mile on a right-handed track.

Joie de Vivre has won 2 of 3 starts. Unbeaten in two starts at 2, including a win in the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, Joie de Vivre finished third in the Grade 3 Tulip Sho over about a mile at Hanshin on March 3.

She won the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies last year, two weeks after Buena Vista scored a popular win in the Japan Cup against males.

The Tulip Sho was won by Hana’s Goal, who will miss the Japanese 1000 Guineas because of injury, according to the Japan Racing Association’s website.

Joie de Vire could face as many as 17 rivals. Her principal opponents are expected to be I’m Yours, second in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies and the winner of the Grade 3 Fillies’ Revue Stakes in March, and Epice Arome and Gentildonna, who were second and fourth in the Tulip Sho.