Fourth favorite Songline bounced back from her latest Gr.1 Victoria Mile fifth-place finish to land her first Gr.1 victory in this year’s Yasuda Kinen. Finishing a nose second to Schnell Meister in last year’s Gr.1 NHK Mile Cup the Kizuna filly turned the tables this time holding off the German-bred colt by a neck.
Following the Gr.2 Fuji Stakes (2021) and this year’s 1351 Turf Sprint (G3), this marks the filly’s third grade-race title.
Winning trainer Toru Hayashi, who opened his yard in 2018, celebrates his fifth grade-race victory and first JRA-G1 title while jockey Kenichi Ikezoe has now 27 G1 wins—his latest was with Gran Alegria in the 2020 Yasuda Kinen.
After breaking sharply from stall 13, Songline was settled behind Salios and in front of Schnell Meister in mid-pack as the field cruised down the backstretch in a leisurely pace. Making headway while shifting to the outside before the last corner, the Kizuna filly unleashed a good and tenacious stretch drive, finally catching Salios in the last half-furlong and held off Schnell Meister, who dug in with great force from behind, to clear the wire first.
Second pick and Gr.1 winner Schnell Meister broke well but was settled in mid-division under jockey Christophe Lemaire after a bit keen in the backstretch. Boxed in after rounding for home, the son of Kingman struggled to find room climbing the hill and finally shot out between horses to overtake Salios at the same time Songline did on the other side but was a neck short in second.
Eighth favorite Salios, under Damian Lane, took a wide trip around seventh just in front of the eventual winner, responded well to rally for the lead but weakened in the last 100 meters, and gave way to Songline and then the fast-closing Schnell Meister in the last strides for third.
Race favorite Elusive Panther trailed near the rear before hitting them straight in a wide move and quickened in the last 200 meters while clocking the fastest late kick but had too much ground to make up and finished eighth.
Distance 1600 meters,(About 8 furlongs / 1 mile),Surface Turf, Track Left-handed, Qualification 3-y-o & Up, Thoroughbreds, Weight 3-y-o 54 kg \ 4-y-o & up 58kg,Purse ¥ 388,800,000 (as of 2022),1st: ¥ 180,000,000,Bonuses US$1,000,000 (¥115,000,000) bonus is given to any horse who wins two legs of the four-race Asian Mile Challenge, including the Yasuda Kinen.
Songline, T. Hayashi, Schnell Meister, T. Tezuka, Salios,N. Hori, Serifos, M. Nakauchida, Fine Rouge,T. Kimura, Danon The Kid,T. Yasuda, Elusive Panther, T. Kubota, Naran Huleg, Y. Munakata, Lotus Land, Y. Tsujino, Resistencia, T. Matsushita, Ho O Amazon, Y. Yahagi, Soul Rush, Y. Ikee, Diatonic, T. Yasuda, Vin De Garde, H. Fujiwara, Karate, Y. Tsujino