06/07/2009 12:00AM

Vodka repeats in Yasuda Kinen


Vodka successfully defended her $1.98 million Yasuda Kinen title at Tokyo on Sunday as she finished with a late rush to defeat Deep Sky by three-quarters of a length in the Grade 1 mile. The victory was her sixth at the highest level and increased her lifetime earnings to $9,552,907, a world record for fillies and mares.

In what turned out to be a battle of Japanese Derby winners, the 5-year-old mare Vodka got the best Deep Sky, a 4-year-old colt who was running at a distance at least two furlongs short of his best. The Kentucky-bred Faridat rallied for third, a length behind Deep Sky, who looked like the winner at the eighth pole but could not withstand Vodka's late attack. Trained by Katsuhiko Sumii and ridden by Yutaka Take, the 4-5 winner covered the mile in 1:33.50 on firm ground.

The two Hong Kong invaders finished unplaced. Recent Champions Mile victor Sight Winner came home sixth while last year's Yasuda Kinen runner-up, Armada, faded to finish eighth.