04/09/2017 2:04PM

Reine Minoru scores major upset in Japan's Oka Sho


Reine Minoru scored a major upset in winning the Group 1, $1.92 million Oka Sho on Sunday at Hanshin Racecourse. The Oka Sho is Japan’s version of the 1000 Guineas, a one-mile grass race for 3-year-old fillies.

Reine Minoru beat 16 rivals and was a half-length better than runner-up Lys Gracieux, who in turn was a neck in front of heavily favored Soul Stirring. Soul Stirring, the unbeaten divisional leader entering the race, was in position to win through the stretch run, but failed to find the necessary acceleration, losing second late to Lys Gracieux.

Reine Minoru, who ran the best race of her career, stalked the pace while outside and in the clear, moving into contention coming off the Oka Sho’s one turn, taking the lead about a furlong out, and holding firm. Kenichi Ikezoe rode the winner for trainer Masaru Honda, with Reine Minoru getting the 1600 meters over good going in 1:34.5.

Reine Minoru won her first two starts but had lost four races in a row – including a defeat by Soul Stirring – before breaking through Sunday. The filly, who has a thoroughly Japanese pedigree, is by Daiwa Major and out of Daiwa Angel, by Tiki Shuttle.