06/04/2009 11:00PM

Vodka rates edge at Tokyo


Japan's two highest rated older horses, Vodka and Deep Sky, go head to head Sunday at Tokyo Racecourse in the $2 million Yasuda Kinen, a Grade 1 mile that has also attracted two of Hong Kong's leading milers, Sight Winner and Armada.

The edge must belong to Vodka. A 5-year-old mare trained by Katsuhiko Sumii, she returned from a couple of subpar efforts in Dubai to take the Victoria Mile against her own sex on May 17 over the Yasuda Kinen course and distance, and has drawn perfectly in three with regular rider Yutaka Take aboard.

Deep Sky was a neck third to Vodka in the 1 1/4-mile Autumn Tenno Sho, but then finished three-quarters of a length in front of her when second in the 1 1/2-mile Japan Cup. He returned to action on April 5 and ran second to Dream Journey in the 1 1/4-mile Osaka Hai. As Deep Sky, trained by Mitsugu Kon, is not as adept going a mile as is Vodka, the mare is taken to successfully defend her Yasuda Kinen title.

Armada was 3 1/2 lengths second to Vodka in last year's renewal but has been unplaced in five starts at Sha Tin since then. Both he and recent Champions Mile winner Sight Winner are trained by John Size, but they have drawn unfortunately wide, Armada in 16 and Sight Winner in 18.