05/19/2017 2:01PM

Reine Minoru, Soul Stirring get rematch in Japanese Oaks


Reine Minoru was a 40-1 outsider when she won the Grade 1 Japanese 1000 Guineas at Hanshin Racecourse on April 9, beating a field that included Soul Stirring, the champion 2-year-old filly of 2016 in Japan.

Reine Minoru and Soul Stirring meet again in Sunday’s Grade 1 Japanese Oaks for 3-year-old fillies at 1 1/2 miles on turf at Tokyo Racecourse. Reine Minoru can prove that her win in the 1000 Guineas was not a fluke. Soul Stirring must show she is as good in major stakes this year as she was in 2016, when she won the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies to secure the championship.

The $2.03 million Japanese Oaks drew a full field of 18, with plenty of contenders.

In the 1000 Guineas, Reine Minoru finished a half-length in front of Lys Gracieux, who is part of the Oaks field. Lys Gracieux was second to Soul Stirring in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies last December.

The 1000 Guineas was Soul Stirring’s first loss in her fifth start. A Japanese-bred, she is by Frankel and out of Stacelita, who won six Grade 1 or Group 1 races in France and the United States, including the 2009 French Oaks, the 2011 Beverly D. Stakes at Arlington Park, and the 2011 Flower Bowl Invitational at Belmont Park.

The minor stakes winners Black’s Beach and Mozu Katchan start in a graded stakes for the first time in the Japanese Oaks.

Black’s Beach won the Sweetpea Stakes at 1 1/8 miles on turf at Tokyo on April 30 and has won two of five starts.

Mozu Katchan won the Flora Stakes at 1 1/4 miles on turf at Tokyo on April 23 and has won her last three starts. Yamakatsu Grace and Flawless Magic, who were second and third in the Flora Stakes, are part of the Japanese Oaks field.