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Almond Eye wins Triple Crown for Japanese fillies

Kyodo

Top pick Almond Eye became the fifth horse to complete the Japanese fillies’ Triple Crown on Sunday following a victory at the Shuka-sho.

Almond Eye, ridden by jockey Christophe Lemaire, beat Mikki Charm by a length and a half to become the first horse since Gentildonna in 2012 to win the Triple Crown for 3-year-old fillies.

Almond Eye started the 2,000-meter race at Kyoto Race Course near the middle of the pack, but accelerated after the final turn, crossing the line in 1 minute, 58.5 seconds.

It was Lemaire’s second straight Shuka-sho victory.

“I can’t believe it. I was worried about this race from the beginning,” Lemaire said. “The start was not good at all, and I was most worried because the other horses weren’t speeding near the third and fourth turns.”

“We had to find room in the outside, but it felt really good once we did,” he said. “(Almond Eye) is a fantastic horse.”

Third-favorite Cantabile finished third behind Mikki Charm.

Almond Eye won April’s Oka-sho at Hanshin Racecourse for her first Grade One title before winning the Japanese Oaks in May.