Daring Tact Kicks Off Japanese Classic Season With Oka Sho Victory

While the start of the 2020 classics seasons in European and North American Thoroughbred racing countries have been postponed because of the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the Japan Racing Association ran its first classic, the Oka Sho for 3-year-old fillies, as scheduled on Sunday from an empty Hanshin racecourse near the country’s third-largest city, Osaka.

The JRA, a branch of Japan’s federal government’s department of agriculture, was among the first racing authorities internationally to close its racecourses and OTBs to the public, effective Feb. 29. It has been able to maintain its regular schedule of races and facilitate wagering through computer and telephone accounts.

The Oka Sho, run over 1,600 meters (one mile), is the Japanese equivalent of England’s One Thousand Guineas for 3-year-old fillies. It is the first leg of the country’s filly Triple Crown, which continues with the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) at 1 ½ miles and Shuka Sho (1 ¼ miles). All three races are run on turf.

Daring Tact won this year’s Oka Sho after a resolute stretch run under jockey Kohei Matsuyama. The lightly raced daughter of Epiphaneia (a grandson of Kris S. out of Cesario, a granddaughter of Sunday Silence who came to the U.S. to win the G1 American Oaks at Hollywood Park) won for the third time in as many starts. Daring Tact was produced from Daring Bird, a daughter of the Kingmambo sire King Kamehameha. Daring Bird’s dam, Daring Heart, is by Sunday Silence, the 1989 Horse of the Year in North America.

Far back early, Daring Tact shifted to the far outside for the stretch run over the clockwise Hanshin course and made full use of the long, uphill straight, getting up in the final strides to catch 2019 JRA champion 2-year-old filly, Resistencia, who was ridden by legendary Japanese rider Yutaka Take. Winning margin was 1 ½ lengths over a yielding course. Smile Kana was another 1 ¾ lengths back in third in the field of 18 3-year-old fillies.

Daring Tact was the second choice in the wagering. Her final time of 1:36.10 was well off the course record of 1:31.90.

“I concentrated on her rhythm more than where to position her today,” said Matsuyama. “We were far behind the leaders and desperate in catching up but she responded beautifully and stretched incredibly all the way to the line. I’m not worried about the added distance in the coming Japanese Oaks but she does have issues to work on such as being relaxed. I’m praying that the day we can race in front of the crowd again will come soon.”

Trained by Haruki Sugiyama, the Oka Sho winner is owned by Normandy Thoroughbred Racing Co., Ltd., and was bred by Hasagawa Bokujo.

While the race is open to international competitors, all 18 Oka Sho runners were bred and trained in Japan.

Purse for the race was approximately $2.1 million. Wagering on the race was $129.5 million, with $203.9 million wagered on the 12-race Hanshin program.

The post Daring Tact Kicks Off Japanese Classic Season With Oka Sho Victory appeared first on Horse Racing News | Paulick Report.

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