Meisho Mambo wins Shuka-sho


Japanese Oaks champion Meisho Mambo won the Shuka-sho to snatch two of the three jewels in the filly’s triple crown on Sunday.

Third choice Meisho Mambo held off second pick Smart Layer by a length and a quarter for her second Grade 1 victory as jockey Koshiro Take capped a one-two with older brother Yutaka.

No. 1 pick Denim and Ruby finished fourth after the photos, a nose behind long shot Lilas Corsage, the 15th favorite in a field of 18.

Meisho Mambo’s winning time was 1 minute, 58.6 seconds over the 2,000 meters on firm going at Kyoto Racecourse, 0.5 seconds off the race record.

“To be perfectly honest, I felt really good about our chances today,” said Take, who won the fifth G1 title of his career aboard the Akihiro Iida-trained horse. “We were blessed with good weather, and the turf was in sparkling condition. She ran a heck of a race and I’m so glad we won.”

Meisho Mambo captured the Oaks back in May as the ninth pick, leading some to believe she was a flash in the pan.

But the Suzuka Mambo daughter matured over the summer, and was fourth in last month’s Shuka-sho trial, the Rose Stakes, to enter Sunday’s race in tip-top condition.

Meisho Mambo traveled the Shuka-sho in midfield in what was a clean race from start to finish. After Take released her early on the final straight, there was no looking back, even with his brother coming on strong along the outside.

Meisho Mambo is 5-for-9 for her career, and Sunday’s ¥89 million victory took her earnings to more than ¥300 million.

“She spent a nice summer, and came back to us a much better racehorse,” Take said. “We had an outside draw but I tried not to think too much about it.”

“I knew the other horses would come for us, but I was confident she has what it takes to hold them off,” he said.