Another Triple Crown Winner for Japan

Photo by: Masakazu TakahashiVictory in the third leg, the Shuka Sho which was established in 1996, saw the three year old Gentildonna become the first winner since Apapane in 2010 and the fourth in history.

The bay filly, ridden by Yasunari Iwata, nosed out her biggest rival Verxina in a breathtaking photo-finish to claim the final leg, giving her owners Sunday Racing Co. Ltd. the Triple Crown title for fillies after achieving the same version for colts with Orfevre just last season.

They are the second owners to have achieved this remarkable feat following Kaneko Makoto Holdings Co. Ltd. who captured both Triple Crowns with Deep Impact and Apapane.

Gentildonna and her sire, Deep Impact, have become the first father/daughter pair in JRA history to accomplish this while Deep Impact also sired second home Verxina.

It was a first Shuka Sho title for trainer Sei Ishizaka and a second consecutive title for Iwata following his victory aboard Aventura 12 months ago.

Runner-up Verxina completed an unwelcome 'Triple Crown' of her own having played the bridesmaid to Gentildonna in all three Triple Crown races.

This is the first time in JRA history that the same two fillies have filled the top two places in the same order in all three legs with Verxina failing by just a nose to gain revenge.

The Shuka Sho serves as a stepping stone to the Queen Elizabeth II Commemorative Cup which was won by Ed Dunlop's Snow Fairy in both 2010 and 2011.

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