OKA SHO (Grade 1)
Hanshin, Turf, 1600m
7 April 2013
Japanese 2-year-old filly champion Robe Tissage (Jpn) (War Emblem) had to settle for fifth place in the Grade 1 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) Sunday at Hanshin as the upstart Ayusan (Jpn) (Deep Impact) sprang the upset in Japan’s first Classic of the year.
Ayusan showed decent speed from the break, but was taken in hand by jockey Cristian Demuro and raced along in a mid-pack position while under cover. Up front, it was the race favorite Kurofune Surprise who overtook pacesetting duties after a half-mile, and that gray filly spearheaded the pack into the stretch as rivals fanned out to either side of her. Ayusan, two paths further out, came with her wide run and took a narrow lead a furlong from the wire. Red Oval looked like the most likely winner soon after, however, as she came flying down the outside and perhaps put a nose in front, but Ayusan gamely fought back and asserted in the dying strides.
Ayusan becomes the third-straight Oka Sho winner for the Triple Crown winner Deep Impact (Jpn), the sire of 2011 winner Marcellina (Jpn) and last year’s heroine - and fellow Triple Crown winner - Gentildonna (Jpn). Deep Impact also sired runner-up Red Oval.
Ayusan has plenty of North American ties in her pedigree. She is a granddaughter of the New York Grade 1 winner Buy the Firm (Affirmed), and was produced by a half to Stake Winner Royal Arrow (Dayjur) and a full to Graded Stakes Winner Storm Arrow. Her winning dam Buy the Cat, a $430,000 FTSAUG yearling way back in 1996, broke her maiden in her second outing at Saratoga for Don Adam and trainer Allen Jerkens, but only made one more start in her career. She passed through the ring twice more after that before selling for a fourth time, at the 2006 Keeneland November Sale, for $60,000. In foal to Tiznow at the time, she was purchased by Heatherway Inc., agent for Shimokobe Farm, and was sent to Japan.
Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News