03/28/2014 7:29AM

Japan: Straight Girl sharp for Takamatsunomiya Kinen

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The 5-year-old Japanese mare Straight Girl is in the best form of her career, having won six of her last seven starts. Sunday, Straight Girl will be favored to win her first Grade 1 race in the $1,935,357 Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chukyo Racecourse in Nagoya, Japan. The Takamatsunomiya Kinen is run over six furlongs on turf on a left-handed track.

The race is the first Grade 1 sprint of the year in Japan, and will establish a division leader following the retirement earlier this year of Lord Kanaloa, who won six Grade 1 or Group 1 races in Asia in his career, including the 2013 Takamatsunomiya Kinen.

Straight Girl won the Silk Road Stakes over six furlongs at Kyoto on Feb. 2 in her first start of 2014, her eighth win in 19 career starts.

She is expected to face Hakusan Moon, a 5-year-old horse who was third in the 2013 Takamatsunomiya Kinen; Smart Orion, who won the Ocean Sakes at Nakayama Racecourse on March 8 for his third win in his last four starts; and Copana Richard, the winner of the Grade 3 Hankyu Hai over seven furlongs at Hanshin Racecourse on March 2.