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Horse Racing

Hanshin Juvenile Fillies Preview: A Test of Skills for Two-Year-Olds

Budding stars Ascoli Piceno, Culture Day, and Corazon Beat enter the 1,600-meter Hanshin Juvenile Fillies coming off graded stakes victories.

The top competition in Japan continues to hop from one course to another ― Tokyo to Chukyo, this week to Hanshin, and then to a double yearend wrap-up at Nakayama. On Sunday, December 10, Hanshin Racecourse will host the Grade 1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies, a competition for 2-year-olds over 1,600 meters of turf. 

Up for grabs is ¥65 million JPY (more than $450,000 USD) for the winner, with a total purse upward of ¥140 million JPY (roughly $970,000 USD).

Twenty-six fillies were nominated for the race's 75th running.

With careers barely budding for many, those youngsters with the most experience on the track are natural standouts. Even more so are those that have won at the graded stakes or while competing alongside colts. Three such are Ascoli Piceno, Culture Day, and Corazon Beat. And all are coming directly from a graded stakes win, a condition that matches seven of the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies' last 10 winners. Also currying considerable favor is a runner-up in graded competition, Safira.

Keep an Eye on the Unbeaten Fillies

Fillies heading to the gate with a still-pristine record have also done well in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies. They make up half the race's winners over the last decade. Ascoli Piceno, Culture Day, Psipsina, and Spring Nova are such and already hold tickets for Sunday. Four other unbeaten fillies ― Tagano Elpida, New General, Atrium Chapel, and Blue Eyed Girl ― have only had one start and need to win the lottery to get to the gate.

The Hanshin Juvenile Fillies is run over the outer course of the right-handed venue, and the race begins in the backstretch. About 450 meters from the starting gate there is a slight upward slope just before the first turn. With 600 meters to go, the track dips for some 400 meters and rises again over half a furlong before leveling out with another half furlong to go.

Weights have risen 1 kg from this year and all fillies will be carrying 55 kg. The Hanshin Juvenile Fillies is the No 11 race on the Hanshin Sunday card of 12. Post time is 3:40 PM.

Here's a look at some of the field's standouts.

Hanshin Juvenile Fillies
Ascoli Piceno exercises on December 5 at the JRA Ritto Training Center in Ritto, Shiga Prefecture. (ⒸSANKEI)

Ascoli Piceno: Success Since the Outset of Her Career

Ascoli Piceno has victories in both career races. In her last start, she aced the Grade 3 Niigata Nisai Stakes at the end of August. Based at the JRA Miho Training Center in Ibaraki Prefecture, she is untested racing to the right. Though she wasn't compromised by the trip to Niigata, trainer Yoichi Kuroiwa decided to ship her early to Ritto, Shiga Prefecture, where she arrived on November 17. 

"Thanks to moving her early, her appetite has stabilized and she has maintained her condition," said Kuroiwa. "The jockey (Hiroshi Kitamura) rode her last week and got a reading on her.

"She's not overly tense, was easily maneuverable, and picked it up nicely in the finish," he added. "I think the sweeping turn over the Hanshin outer course is very attractive." 

Ascoli Piceno has displayed versatility, persistence, and a powerful late kick that should serve her well.

Hanshin Juvenile Fillies
Corazon Beat works out on November 29 in Miho, Ibaraki Prefecture. (ⒸSANKEI)

It's just a shoe!

Corazon Beat Owns a Three-Race Win Streak

One of six fillies in the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies field with four races already behind her, Corazon Beat is on a three-race winning streak. Her flashy time of 33.2 seconds over the final three furlongs put her top of the class in November 4's Grade 2 Keio Hai Nisai Stakes and landed her a 2-year-old course record time (1 minute, 20.6 seconds). 

The daughter of Suave Richard has experience over 1,600 meters, but has only raced to the left and her last two starts have been over 1,400 meters. She's primed and improvement is expected, but the extra furlong will call for more patience than she's known to show. Takeshi Yokoyama is set to ride Corazon Beat.

Read the rest of this article about the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies as well as the Japanese horses in contention on JRA News.

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Author: JRA News

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