By Emily Shields
For the first time in three years and the 12thtime in race history, the Yushun Himba – Japanese Oaks – will not feature the winner of the first leg of the Fillies Triple Crown, Gran Alegria. That popular runner opted for a different race, leaving the Oaks an open affair. The race takes place Sunday afternoon in Japan, or Saturday night by American clocks. Last year, it was won by international sensation Almond Eye, and has been won by the likes of Gentildonna, Buena Vista, and Cesario.
Oka Sho second and third place finishers Shigeru Pink Dia and Chrono Genesis are both running back. Chrono Genesis has already won this year, taking the grade 3 Daily Hai Queen Cup on February 11, but Shigeru Pink Dia was second in her prep for the Oaks and seeks her first 2019 score. The daughter of Daiwa Major has never been worse than third in four starts.
2018 Champion Two Year Old Filly Danon Fantasy won the grade 2 Tulip Sho on March 2, then finished fourth in the Oka Sho as the favorite. Last year, the daughter of Deep Impact was a two time stakes winner. She has won over this course.
Schon Glanz is a half-sister to 2017 Yushun Himba winner Soul Stirring, meaning she is out of the United States grade 1 winner Stacelita. She is two for six lifetime but has been off the board in two starts so far this year.
Loves Only You is another daughter of Deep Impact and is unbeaten in three starts. She won the Wasurenagusa Sho, a listed event, at Hanshin on April 7 over 2000 meters (1 ¼ miles). This is a full sister to Dubai Turf (G1) winner Real Steel.
From 23 fillies nominated, 18 were able to draw into the race. The 1 ½ mile contest will go as the 11thrace.
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