05/09/2013 3:00PM

Japan: Verxina bids for first Grade 1 win in Victoria Mile


Verxina, second in the Grade 1 Japanese Oaks in 2012, will be favored to win the first Grade 1 of her career in Sunday’s $1,908,722 Victoria Mile for fillies and mares on turf at Tokyo Racecourse.

A 4-year-old filly by Deep Impact trained by Yasuo Tomomichi, Verxina was second to 2012 Japanese Horse of the Year Gentildonna in three consecutive stakes last year, including the Japanese Oaks.

In her only start this year, Verxina was sixth against males in the Group 2 Sankei Osaka Hai over about 1 1/4 miles on turf at Hanshin Racecourse on March 31. A winner of 3 of 10 starts, Verxina races for owner Kazuhiro Sasaki.

The Victoria Mile will not have a particularly strong field.

Defending champion Whale Capture, a 5-year-old mare by Kurofune, has not finished closer than 10th in her last five starts. Other contenders are Hana’s Goal, a Grade 3 winner in January; and Joie de Vivre, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2011 who is winless in four starts since that season.