• Kyodo

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Sixth-pick Hishi Miracle surged ahead of the pack in the final 200 meters to hold off Tsurumaru Boy’s late charge by a neck and win the 44th Takarazuka Kinen on Sunday.

The victory was the first Takarazuka Kinen title for jockey Koichi Tsunoda and trainer Masaru Sayama.

It was also the third Grade One (G-1) race win for Hishi Miracle following victories in last fall’s Kikka-sho and Tenno-sho in May.

In the 2,200-meter race on turf at Hanshin Racecourse in Takarazuka, My Sole Sound led the field of 17 horses.

But Hishi Miracle came from outside after turning the final bend, thundered into the lead and continued to take the 132 million yen first prize in 2 minutes, 12 seconds.

Long shot Tsurumaru Boy made a tremendous charge from outside only to come up short while third place went to Tap Dance City.

Highly touted 3-year-old Neo Universe, ridden by Italian jockey Mirco Demuro, ended up fourth as he stayed in the back of the pack before putting on a final burst.

Favorite Symboli Kris S was fifth.

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