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Victoria Mile Preview: Sodashi Aims to Repeat as Champ

Not restricted to a once-in-a-lifetime chance, the Victoria Mile allows for repeat bids, and five nominees from 2022 are returning this year.

On Sunday, May 14, segued in amid the three top-level events for 3-year-olds at Tokyo Racecourse this month, is the Grade 1 Victoria Mile. It's a distaff for 4-year-olds and up. 

Now in its 18th year, the Victoria Mile has become known for its exciting mix of talent. And with Classic winners going up against tried-and-true milers, the race is also known for its upsets.

Not restricted to a once-in-a-lifetime chance, the Victoria Mile allows for repeat bids. And five nominees from 2022 are returning this year. They include the dazzling white Sodashi, who will attempt to score back-to-back victories in the Victoria Mile.

However, as is usually the case when the cream of the crop goes head to head, Sodashi will have dollops of competition.

Victoria Mile
Hayato Yoshida rides Sodashi to victory in the 17th Victoria Mile at Tokyo Racecourse on May 15, 2022. (ⒸSANKEI)

Impressive Field in the Victoria Mile

Three other nominees have landed one or more Grade 1s already. Two-time Classic winner Stars on Earth is seen as mile-loving Sodashi's biggest rival. Songline, 2022 Yasuda Kinen winner, and the only returnee this year to have come close in last year's Victoria Mile, is a miler and seen as a formidable rival.

Stunning Rose excelled in the Shuka Sho (in October 2022). And Namur has yet to capture a Grade 1 but has been so close many a time. Both are formidable contenders.

The Victoria Mile starting gate is placed at the top of the backstretch and some 500 meters extend to the first turn. Halfway down the backstretch, an initial downward slope reverses sharply upward, then drops around the bend. With 450 meters to go, runners hit the Tokyo hill and the track rises quite steeply before leveling out with about 300 meters to go.

The Victoria Mile will be Race 11 on the Sunday card at Tokyo, with a post time in Japan of 3:40 PM. This year's winner's check is ¥130 million JPY (about $1 million USD) and all runners will carry 56 kg.

Here is a look at some of the likely top picks.

Stars on Earth is expected to be one of the top contenders in the Victoria Mile. (ⒸSANKEI)

Stars on Earth Racing for Third G1 Win 

A 4-year-old daughter of Duramente, Stars on Earth has yet to miss the Top 3 in her nine career starts. That is a dazzling achievement given that all but three of those races were at the graded level, and four of them were Grade 1s. This Sunday (May14), Stars on Earth will be shooting for her third Grade 1 victory.

She aced the Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas) in 2022, the first race in the fillies' Classic three and continued with winning form in the 2,400-meter Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), the second of the Classics. In the Triple Crown wrap, the Shuka Sho over 2,000 meters at Hanshin, she finished third, only a half length and a nose behind Stunning Rose and Namur

Also, perhaps the most significant was her result amid mixed company last time out in the Grade 1 Osaka Hai, where her astounding late kick took her to a second-place finish, only a nose behind the frontrunner, the 5-year-old Jack d'Or, on April 2.

Sodashi works out on May 2 in Ritto, Shiga Prefecture. (ⒸSANKEI)

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Sodashi Has Track Record of Success in Mile Races

Sodashi, too, has an astounding record from a slew of graded bids and is aiming for her fourth Grade 1 victory. A daughter of Kurofune, her only non-graded start in her 14 outings was her debut race, which started a five-race winning streak on her way to the 2021 Oka Sho, before she was stopped in the Japanese Oaks (finished eighth). 

The 5-year-old Sodashi returns to the turf for the first time since late November, when she finished third less than two lengths behind colts in the Grade 1 Mile Championship. Sodashi has finished in the Top 3 in all her six starts over a mile and won four of them. 

A jockey change is in store this time, with Hayato Yoshida (the only jockey to have ridden Sodashi thus far) to be replaced with new partner Damian Lane.

Read the rest of this article about the Victoria Mile as well as the Japanese horses in contention on JRA News.


Author: JRA News


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