Akai Ito Upsets Japan’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup

Akai Ito marked an upset victory at odds of 64.9-1 in this year’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup to score her first graded title and became the first Kizuna filly or colt to capture a JRA-G1 title. Debuting in September of her two-year-old season, she broke her maiden in her second start and concluded the season with one win out of five starts. The Kizuna brown marked another win out of eight starts last year and stepped up to open class after marking two wins out of five starts in the first half of this season but came off a seventh in the Fuchu Himba Stakes (G2) on Oct. 16. Trainer Kazuya Nakatake marked his third JRA-G1 win following his win in the 2018 Hopeful Stakes with Saturnalia while jockey Hideaki Miyuki claimed his eighth JRA-G1 victory following his 2018 Victoria Mile title with Jour Polaire.

Missing her break from stall 16, four-year-old Akai Ito traveled fifth from last and advanced boldly turning the last two corners wide to enter the lane in third. The four-year-old brown continued to accelerate powerfully in the stretch, pinning race-favorite Lei Papale passing the 200-meter pole, and easily held off the rest of the field with her incredible late drive that marked the fastest last three furlongs in the field for a two-length victory.

“As she seemed to be a bit tense when I trained her the other day, I tried to race her in her own rhythm. Though I could not break her smoothly out of the gate, I was able to eventually race her in the intended position at the backstretch. I was confident that she will stretch well at the end and, because it was a G1 race, I made bid earlier than usual. We were able to take the front earlier than I had expected and, as there was no horse right behind us, I just kept on urging her to go until,” commented Hideaki Miyuki.

Seventh choice Stellaria, another Kizuna filly, broke smoothly and settled around seventh to eighth from the front. The three-year-old dark bay rounded the last two corners the widest of the field, persistently chased the leaders in the straight and produced a remarkable turn of speed in the last 100 meters to cross the wire in second.

Ninth pick Clavel saved ground around 14th behind eventual winner, found a narrow space entering the homestretch, showed the tied third fastest late drive between horses and closed in on Stellaria but was neck short in third.

Race favorite Lei Papale settled around fourth, advanced in the last two corners and was leading the field when entering the stretch. The Deep Impact filly, however, lost momentum in the last 200 meters and succumbed to sixth.

The post Akai Ito Upsets Japan’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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