The 65th running of the filly classic Oaks was the stage for a huge upset Sunday as Daiwa el Cielo handed the overwhelming favorite Dance in the Mood her first loss.
Daiwa el Cielo, a distant sixth pick at the windows, broke well from the gate, moved in to the rail from the No. 13 post position and took the lead from the backstretch, a position she held to the end.
“The pace was really slow,” jockey Yuichi Fukunaga said afterward, “and I figured the only way to run this was from up front.”
With no decided frontrunners and no one wishing to move, the pace dropped to a crawl. Dance in the Mood, who stayed forward uncharacteristically in fifth position just 4 lengths off the top looked good until the 200-meter mark where Sweep Tosho rocketed past to grab second place three-quarters of a length off the winner.
Yamanin Alabaster crossed the line in third place 3 lengths ahead of the fourth place Dance in the Mood. Daiwa el Cielo’s winning time was 2 minutes 27.2 seconds over 2,400 meters of slightly yielding turf.
Yutaka Take, paired with Dance in the Mood, commented on the loss afterward.
“Whether it was the distance or the going I can’t say. She showed me a side of her I’ve never seen before,” he said of Dance in the Mood. “Normally I’d have a lot of horse under me just waiting for the go sign but today there was nothing,” Take explained.
“It’s a real shame,” he added. “We were hoping to see a historical win here today.”
The pre-race odds on Dance in the Mood were rock-bottom at 1.4 to 1, with over 54 percent of the wagers to win placed on the unbeaten filly. Daiwa el Cielo had less than 4 percent of the bets to win behind her.
Daiwa el Cielo, by Sunday Silence out of the Dr. Devious mare London Bridge, was bred at Shimokobe Bokujo in Hokkaido’s Monbetsu. She is now three for five with over 183 million yen in earnings. The Oaks was worth 97 million yen to owner Daiwa Shoji Inc.
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