TAKARAZUKA, HYOGO PREF. – Eighth favorite Reine Minoru held off star jockey Yutaka Take aboard third favorite Lys Gracieux down the final stretch for a surprise half-length victory in the Oka-sho on Sunday.
Reine Minoru, with Kenichi Ikezoe aboard, crossed the finish at Hanshin Racecourse in 1 minute, 34.5 seconds for his first Grade 1 victory. Top pick Soul Stirring finished third, a neck behind Lys Gracieux.
Ikezoe posted his second career win in the 1,600-meter turf race for three-year-old fillies, while it was the first time for trainer Masaru Honda.
“I rode her for the first time a week ago and thought she was a great horse,” said Ikezoe.
“I was able to breathe in synch with the horse and find our rhythm, and not worry about the horses behind us. I felt her speed down the home stretch and in the end she did what she is capable of doing.”
The winner’s purse is worth ¥92 million.