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Almond Eye Beaten in Gr1 Yasuda Kinen
The Yasuda Kinen, a race to determine the best miler of the spring season, has welcomed just over 50 foreign-trained horses since its designation as an international race in 1993, including 1995 champion Heart Lake (GB, by Nureyev) from the UAE, 2000 winner Fairy King Prawn (AUS, by Danehill) from Hong Kong and the winner of the 2006 Champions Mile-Yasuda Kinen double, Bullish Luck (USA, by Royal Academy). Last season's champion 3YO Filly, Gran Alegria ran a strong and convincing race to win this year's Yasuda Kinen while holding off a group of dominant rivals which included not only 10 Gr1 winners, but the heavily favored Almond Eye, who was hoped to rewrite history in becoming the first Japanese horse to land eight Gr1 turf wins. The 2019 Oka Sho (Japanese 1000 Guineas, G1, 1,600m) winner had showed a good runner-up effort in her first sprint challenge, this year's Takamatsunomiya Kinen (G1, 1,200m), but sat out her scheduled Victoria Mile start three weeks earlier when she ran a fever. For trainer Kazuo Fujisawa this marks his third Yasuda Kinen title (1997 Taiki Blizzard, 1998 Taiki Shuttle) and his 30th JRA-G1 victory following his latest in last year's Sprinters Stakes with Tower of London.