Stars On Earth sparkles in Japanese oaks to secure two-thirds of Fillies’ Triple Crown – Reuters Sports News

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Stars on Earth wins the Oka Sho (Japanese Oaks)

Stars on Earth picked up their second classic success on Sunday at Tokyo Racecourse with their win in the Oka Sho (G1) (Japanese 1,000 Guineas).

Following a delay due to a loose horse ahead of the scheduled start, the third seeded Stars on Earth was left unhurried after a smooth break and slotted into midfield around ninth or tenth.

Christophe Lemaire guided the dark bay slightly outward where she made her bid along the center lane, closing the gap on the leaders with every stride as a fierce battle for the lead unfolded ahead in the last 200 meters. But taking the lead at 100 yards, Stars on Earth pulled away sharply to secure her second jewel in the Fillies’ Triple Crown by 1 1/4 lengths.

Stars on Earth completed the 2,400 meters (about 1½ miles) in 2:23.90, becoming the 16th horse to win the first two stages of the series.

She won the first round of the Triple Crown, the Oka Sho (G1) (Japanese 1,000 Guineas), on April 10 at Hanshin Racecourse. The final stage of the series, the Shuka Sho (G1), is held at 2,000 meters (about 1 ¼ miles) and will be held on October 16 at Hanshin Racecourse. Six fillies have swept the series, including the undefeated Daring Tact in 2020.

“The filly was in very good condition before the race, but it takes a lot of effort to start from an outside board, so I was easy with her at the start,” said Lemaire after Sunday’s victory aboard Stars on Earth. “She stayed calm and reacted very well in the final stages, so I was happy. It was her first attempt at 2,400 meters, but her pedigree showed that she should be up to the task in terms of endurance, so I figured that shouldn’t be a problem She’s already won over 1600 meters (about a mile) and shown she can handle 2400 meters so I think she has a good chance of winning her third hat-trick (Group 1) over 2,000 metres.

Tenth pick Stunning Rose was well positioned along the rails around fifth, angled slightly for the stretch run and performed a fine toe turn to lead briefly at the 200-yard mark, but was not able to match the strong finishing speed of the winner who quickly caught her from the outside. She held second place.

Fourth-choice Namur secured a place inside behind Stunning Rose after a good break, then was brought further down the middle of the split along the straight with a good view of the eventual winner at the outside.

Staying on the inside as they approached the final corner, Namur closed in quickly and rallied to the front two in the final 100m, but was unable to hold their bid in the final strides, finishing third.

Race favorite Circle of Life showed frustration and lost momentum due to the late start, missing a beat coming out of the gate and trailing at the back for most of the trip. With plenty of ground to cover as she entered the straight, the filly from Epiphaneia failed to find her usual lap as she finished in a lackluster 12th place.

Trained by Mizuki Takayanagi, Stars on Earth is a daughter of Duramente and Southern Stars, by Smart Strike. She was bred by Shadai Farm and campaigned by Shadai Race Horse Co.

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