04/18/2010 11:00PM

Victoire Pisa rallies in Japanese 2000 Guineas


Victoire Pisa took what jockey Yutaka Take believes could be the first step to the Japanese triple crown at Nakayama on Sunday, when he scored a resounding victory in the $2.5 million Satsuki Sho, or Japanese 2000 Guineas. Victoire Pisa rallied along the rail to lead inside the eighth pole, defeating Hiruno d'Amour by 1 1/2 lengths while clocking a 2:00.80 for the 1 1/4 miles on good ground as the 1.30-1 favorite.

Eishin Flash was third, just a nose behind the runner-up with 5.40-1 second choice Rose Kingdom, last year's Japanese juvenile champion, fourth, just another nose behind.

Trained by Katsuhiko Sumii, who guided Vodka to victories in the Japanese Derby and Japanese St. Leger three years ago, Victoire Pisa is a son of Neo Universe, winner of the 2000 Guineas and Derby in 2003 who also is the sire of last year's Guineas and Derby winner Neo Universe. The Guineas winner, bred by Shadai Farm and owned by Yoshimi Ichikawa, has now won five races in a row after failing in his first start at 2. His next outing will be in the 1 1/2-mile, Tokyo Yushun, or Japanese Derby, on May 30 at Tokyo.

Victoire Pisa was ridden for the first time Sunday by Yasunari Iwata, who was replacing Take, who is still hospitalized after a fall last month in which he suffered a broken vertebrae, a broken collar bone, and severe bruising. Take wrote on his website Sunday that he believes that Victoire Pisa is fully capable of pulling off the Japanese triple crown, the final leg of which is the 1 3/4-mile Kikuka Sho, or Japanese St. Leger, at Kyoto on Oct. 24. Take is expected to be back in the saddle aboard Victoire Pisa in the Japanese Derby.