Apapane dethroned Japan’s reigning horse of the year Buena Vista after winning the Victoria Mile for her fifth Grade 1 title on Sunday.
Ridden by Masayoshi Ebina, Apapane, last season’s filly’s Triple Crown winner, held off favorite and defending champion Buena Vista by a neck in a smoking race record of 1 minute, 31.9 seconds on firm going under the sun at Tokyo Racecourse.
Buena Vista, coming off the worst start of her career at the Dubai World Cup where she finished eighth, was followed in a narrow third by 4-year-old Lady Alba Rosa, the third pick after Apapane.
“She’s such a hard worker, I really adore her,” said Ebina, who won his first Victoria Mile as did trainer Sakae Kunieda. “I knew (Buena Vista) would be behind me so I just focused on keeping my horse settled.
“I wanted her to run her race, her style because I knew we’d be marked. If we get caught, then we get caught. I rode with a lot of faith. (Buena Vista) was horse of the year last year; I didn’t think for a minute that she wouldn’t give us a race.”