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BRINGING ASIAN RACING TO THE WORLD
The Oka Sho – ‘Cherry Blossom Prize’ – was first run in 1939 and is the first leg of the fillies’ Triple Crown.
The Oka Sho is the first Classic of the year in Japan and is also referred to as the Japanese 1,000 Guineas, being a mile race restricted to three-year-old fillies. The pathway to the race is via a number of lead-up contests, notably two recognised trials staged at Hanshin in March: The Grade 2 Tulip Sho over 1,600 metres and the Hochi Hai Fillies’ Revue over 1,400 metres.
The Oka Sho – ‘Cherry Blossom Prize’ – was first run in 1939 and is the first leg of the fillies’ Triple Crown, which also features the Yushun Himba over 2,400 metres and the Shuka Sho over 2,000 metres. The race starts on the back straight and the contenders navigate the outer loop before entering the home stretch for a run of a little more than 400 metres to the finish line.
The quality of runners since 2017 has justified its upgrade. The Osaka Hai starts in front of the Hanshin grandstand and runs right-handed, taking the inner loop out of the backstretch into the home straight.
Few winners of the Oka Sho have enjoyed such glamourous popularity as ‘The White Wonder’ Sodashi, a daughter of the enigmatic white mare Buchiko. Sodashi became the first genuinely white thoroughbred to win a Japanese Classic when she landed the spring prize in 2021.
The striking filly, trained by Naosuke Sugai, became a fan favourite and a media darling after she won her debut race at Hakodate at two and followed up with a pair of Grade 3 triumphs. Sodashi whipped up the hype even more when she closed her juvenile campaign with a famous victory in the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies.
She raced first-up in the Oka Sho the following spring and held on by a neck at the winning line to take her unbeaten streak to five. After failing to stay 2,400 metres in the Yushun Himba, Sodashi won the Grade 2 Sapporo Kinen from the soon-to-be Breeders’ Cup heroine Loves Only You but was well off the boil in two subsequent runs that season.
At four, she gave her fans a big buzz when winning the G1 Victoria Mile, and rounded off that campaign with a good third in the G1 Mile Championship.
|2022||Stars On Earth||Yuga Kawada||Mizuki Takayanagi||Shadai Racehorse Co.||1:32.9|
|2021||Sodashi||Hayato Yoshida||Naosuke Sugai||Kaneko Makoto Holdings||1:31.1|
|2020||Daring Tact||Kohei Matsuyama||Haruki Sugiyama||Normandy Thoroughbred Racing||1:36.1|
|2019||Gran Alegria||Christophe Lemaire||Kazuo Fujisawa||Sunday Racing||1:32.7|
|2018||Almond Eye||Christophe Lemaire||Sakae Kunieda||Silk Racing||1:33.1|
|2017||Reine Minoru||Kenichi Ikezoe||Masaru Honda||Minoru Yoshioka||1:34.5|
|2016||Jeweler||Mirco Demuro||Kenichi Fujioka||Yoichi Aoyama||1:33.4|
|2015||Let's Go Donki||Yasunari Iwata||Tomoyuki Umeda||Toshihiro Hirosaki||1:36.0|
|2014||Harp Star||Yuga Kawada||Hiroyoshi Matsuda||U Carrot Farm||1:33.3|
|2013||Ayusan||Cristian Demuro||Takahisa Tezuka||Juichi Hoshin||1:35.0|
|2012||Gentildonna||Yasunari Iwata||Sei Ishizaka||Sunday Racing Co. Ltd||1:34.6|
|2011||Marcellina||Katsumi Ando||Hiroyoshi Matsuda||Shadai Racehorse Co.||1:33.9|
|2010||Apapane||Masayoshi Ebina||Sakae Kunieda||Kaneko Makoto Holdings||1:33.3|
|2009||Buena Vista||Katsumi Ando||Hiroyoshi Matsuda||Sunday Racing||1:34.0|
|2008||Reginetta||Futoshi Komaki||Hidekazu Asami||Shadai Racehorse Co.||1:34.4|
|2007||Daiwa Scarlet||Katsumi Ando||Kunihide Matsuda||Keizo Oshiro||1:33.7|
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