KYOTO – Second pick Sweep Tosho stormed down the final stretch to win the Queen Elizabeth Cup on Sunday for her third Grade One victory.
Sweep Tosho added to the titles she claimed at the Shuka-sho a year ago and the Takarazuka Kinen in June when she charged out of the pack from outside and beat out Osumi Haruka at the wire by a half-length at Kyoto Racecourse.
The 4-year-old filly gave jockey Kenichi Ikezoe his first Queen Elizabeth Cup in a race designed to determine the No. 1 mares and fillies in Japanese horse racing.
“The pack ran along on a fairly slow pace and we were way behind the front runner heading into the straight, but she used her strong legs to the limit and it was really explosive,” Ikezoe said.
Osumi Haruka raced out of the gate to take a four-length lead on the back stretch in the 2,200-meter turf race and went close to springing a surprise as the five-year-old mare nearly went from wire to wire in the strong 18-horse field.
Admire Groove finished third 2 1/2 lengths behind Osumi Haruka and fell short of winning her third Queen Elizabeth Cup in as many years.
Top favorite Air Messiah settled for fifth under Yutaka Take, whose winning streak in the annual race ended at four.
Sweep Tosho, who clocked 2 minutes, 12.5 seconds, paid out 280 yen on a 100 yen wager.
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