Group One winning Lys Gracieux romped to victory in the 60th running of the Takarazuka Kinen. Lys Gracieux jumped from the gate in a bit of a hurry and settled unusually toward the front to press the pace behind Kiseki.
The latter Kiseki, took the front as usual to set the pace and continued to hold on well even after entering the homestretch. The son of Rulership, however, ran out of fuel in the last 200 meters while still managing to come in second while Lys Gracieux shifted into a higher gear to win the race.
The 5YO daughter of Heart’s Cry captured her first Gr.1 title in last year’s Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Kyoto in November and has remained a high-level performer since. This win marked trainer Yoshito Yahagi’s seventh JRA-Gr.1 win following his Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) title with Loves Only You in May. Lys Gracieux was the only female in a field of 12 strong runners,
Quick out of the gate, Turning the last corner outside the frontrunner, still in second, made bid immediately after entering the lane, dueled strongly with the race favorite until overtaking the front 200 meters out and
“The horse turned out in perfect condition. I was very lucky to be able to board her today. She broke well and I thought I might as well use that to my advantage. I was very confident turning in that she had plenty left in the tank and I was worried that there were a lot of good horses chasing and I thought that they would challenge but she was just too strong,” commented Damian Lane.
Suave Richard traveled wide behind Lys Gracieux, until the wire, nailing Al Ain along the way to finish two lengths behind Kiseki in third.